For the first time, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has acknowledged that awarding Qatar the 2022 summer World Cup may have been a “mistake,” according to an interview from Insideworldfootball.com.
Blatter has proposed moving the tournament to the winter time in order to bypass the country's potentially dangerous temperatures, but numerous European soccer leagues fear that a winter World Cup would interrupt their respective schedules.
Blatter, who said he recognized that staging a summer tournament “was simply not a responsible thing to do,” said that holding it in the summer is letting the European leagues dictate FIFA's schedule.
“It always succumbed to the European audience and it satisfied the European prerogative,” Blatter said. He continued, “If we maintain, rigidly, the status quo, then a FIFA World Cup can never be played in countries that are south of the equator or indeed near the equator. We automatically discriminate against countries that have different seasons than we do in Europe,” he said.
When asked, directly, if FIFA knew that a summer World Cup in Qatar would be impossible, Blatter answered, “that may well be so, and it may well be that we made a mistake at the time. On the other hand, you must also consider political and geo-political realities.”
“I think it is high time that Europe starts to understand that we do not rule the world anymore. … And we must accept that football has moved away from being a European and South American sport: It has become the world sport that billions of fans are excitedly following every week.”
Although the World Cup has always been played during the summer, Blatter emphasized that it's not written in the doctrine that the tournament “must” be played in June and July.