BERLIN (dpa) – Football’s world governing body FIFA made the “right decision” in awarding the World Cups to Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022, UEFA president Michel Platini says in a newspaper interview published Sunday.
The head of European football’s organising body told Germany’s Welt am Sonntag that politicians were “making things too easy” with calls for a Russian boycott in 2018 over the conflict in Ukraine.
Platini also defended his vote as a member of FIFA’s executive committee for Qatar in 2022, and repeated calls for the tournament to be moved to the cooler winter months.
A report on an investigation of corruption allegations in the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups was submitted this week by FIFA’s chief ethics committee investigator.
Qatar has also been criticised over human rights violations in the treatment of workers constructing World Cup facilities, while the European Union was reported this week to be considering calling for a boycott of the 2018 World Cup in Russia due to the Ukraine crisis.
“With Qatar and Russia I chose countries which never had the pleasure of holding a World Cup,” Platini said of the vote in December 2010.
“With the development of football in mind it was the right decision.”
Platini said he was “completely happy” to have voted for Qatar and said “it was my decision,” dismissing allegations that he had been put under pressure by the French government to vote for the emirate.
Following the vote it had emerged that 59-year-old Platini had dined at the Elysee Palace with then president Nicolas Sarkozy and the emir of Qatar. Platini’s son, Laurent, was also later recruited into the management of Burdda, a Qatari-owned sports kit company.