Mistakes happen, apparently even when it comes to the world's premier sporting event.
That was the message from FIFA president Sepp Blatter in an interview with Swiss television channel RTS during which he admitted that the extreme summer heat should have precluded Qatar from hosting the World Cup. The tiny gulf state still won the 2022 tournament bid over challengers Australia and the United States (WATCH THE BLATTER INTERVIEW HERE).
"Of course, it was a mistake. You know, one makes a lot of mistakes in life," Blatter said. "The technical report indicated clearly that it was too hot in summer, but despite that the executive committee decided with quite a big majority that the tournament would be in Qatar."
Those were stronger words than the ones Blatter used in another interview conducted in 2013, when he admitted that awarding Qatar the 2022 World Cup "may have been a mistake at the time."
It's widely expected that the 2022 World Cup will be moved to winter to avoid the taxing conditions, with FIFA set to vote on the matter following this summer's tournament in Brazil.
Following Blatter's comments, FIFA released a statement that sought to clarify his message.
"The comment by the FIFA president concerning the organization of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar to Swiss TV station RTS is in line with previous comments on this matter," the statement said.
"As explained in his answer to the journalist, the president reiterated that the decision to organize the World Cup in summer was an 'error' based on the technical assessment report of the bid, which had highlighted the extremely hot temperatures in summer in Qatar. At no stage did he question Qatar as hosts of the 2022 FIFA World Cup."