Blatter blames France, Germany for Qatar choice
By Naomi O'Leary
ROME (Reuters) - France and Germany should be held to account over the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar because they exerted political pressure to award the 2022 World Cup to the tiny Gulf state, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Friday.
Blatter said financial interests prompted Europe's two largest economies to lobby for a Qatar tournament and that construction companies were ultimately responsible for the treatment of their workers.
FIFA has faced a series of controversies since it awarded the World Cup to Qatar in 2010, with the latest fuelled by reports of rife exploitation of migrant workers in the country's construction sector.
Speaking at a Rome press conference, Blatter said the vote to award the tournament to Qatar was influenced by "political pressure from European countries...because there were so many economic interests."
"Two of these countries pressured the voting men in FIFA: France and Germany...I think the heads of state of these two countries should also express what they think of this situation," Blatter said.
The European Parliament urged FIFA to pressure Qatar to address labor conditions in stadiums and infrastructure under construction for the event on Thursday.
"It's easy to say all the responsibilities lie on FIFA. No, no, we are part of this responsibility," Blatter said.
The French and German governments did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Continued...