Did FIFA Cancel Qatar's Hosting of 2022 Games?

German newspaper quotes FIFA president as saying that Qatar won't host 2022 World Cup, but FIFA denies the report.

Ben Ariel ,

Soccer (illustration)
Soccer (illustration)
Flash 90

There were conflicting reports on Monday regarding FIFA’s position on Qatar’s hosting the 2022 World Cup.

While the German newspaper Der Spiegel reported that FIFA president Sepp Blatter told members of the Norwegian FA that "the 2022 World Cup won't take place in Qatar" during a dinner held in October, the international federation later denied the report.

According to the Der Spiegel report, Blatter called Qatar's rulers "arrogant" and said that "they think they're allowed to do anything with their money". Blatter allegedly rebuked Qatar for backing the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group.

However, a FIFA spokesperson later denied that Blatter made the comments and reaffirmed to the International Business Times (IBT) that Qatar will host the 2022 soccer tournament.

"With regard to the story in Der Spiegel, FIFA wants to reiterate that the information provided by the sources‎ does not reflect what actually happened at the dinner in question, which was held during the FIFA President's visit to Oslo in October,” the international soccer federation said in a statement to IBT.

"The claims made by the sources are unfounded. The 2022 FIFA World Cup will take place in Qatar,” the statement added.

The statement also noted that the at the dinner in question, "The topics of Qatar and the 2022 World Cup were talked about very briefly. Dates were discussed as there are presently discussions taking place to determine when will be the best time to stage the tournament in that calendar year and the Emir, who had visited FIFA President Blatter only a few days earlier in Zurich, was mentioned.”

"In this context, the FIFA President spoke of how, in the meeting in Zurich, he had congratulated the Emir on speaking clearly during the previous day's state visit to Germany, where the Emir had met with Chancellor Angela Merkel."

The spokesman also refuted claims that Blatter rebuked the emirate's rulers for financing ISIS.

"In response to a journalist's question as to whether Qatar was financing the Islamic State (IS) group, the Emir refuted the suggestion in no uncertain terms. FIFA President Blatter praised the Emir for that in Zurich and mentioned it in conversation at the table in Oslo," FIFA stated, according to IBT.

"In no way did the FIFA President associate Qatar with IS. The atmosphere at this dinner with the Executive Committee members of the Norwegian FA was pleasant, friendly and relaxed."

Qatar has come under criticism for its support of the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoot, Hamas.

The governments of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar in June, in protest over Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

There have been several high-profile calls to stop Qatar from hosting the World Cup in 2022 until it ceases its funding of terrorism, including by Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett.

There have been several rallies in recent months calling for FIFA to move the 2022 World Cup elsewhere.