FIFA boss Sepp Blatter condemned European media for “attacking” 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar Tuesday, days after slamming European countries and companies over the controversial tournament.
The veteran Swiss said media had been unfair to Qatar as he made an impassioned defence of the event to delegates at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) awards in Kuala Lumpur.
“It is not fair when the international media and especially European media are taking up the focus of an Arab country here in Asia, and attacking, criticising this country,” Blatter said.
“We are defending it. We have taken the decision to play a World Cup in the Arab world and we have taken the decision to play in Qatar and we will go and play this… in 2022 in Qatar,” he added, to loud applause at the gala dinner.
The comments come just a few days after Blatter accused France and Germany of pushing Qatar’s bid to host the World Cup to suit their “economic interests”.
He also blamed European construction companies after Amnesty International said migrant workers at World Cup venues were being treated like “animals”.
Tiny, resource-rich Qatar has proved a contentious choice since being awarded World Cup hosting rights in 2010 following a bidding process tainted with corruption allegations.
Following strong and lengthy protests, Blatter has agreed to move the World Cup to the end of 2022 to avoid Qatar’s scorching summer months.
Rights groups called for a boycott of the World Cup over Amnesty’s report, which said workers suffered exploitation including non-payment of wages and hazardous conditions.
Blatter has called conditions for migrant workers “unacceptable”. However, Qatar said the allegations were “exaggerated”.