ZURICH: FIFA has denied Qatar will be stripped of the 2022 World Cup after a German report claiming FIFA president Sepp Blatter had told members of the Norwegian federation that the Gulf state was to be stripped of the finals.
Der Spiegel reported that Blatter allegedly told them that “the 2022 World Cup won’t take place in Qatar” during a dinner held in October.
The magazine added that Blatter called Qatar’s rulers “arrogant” and said that “they think they’re allowed to do anything with their money”. Blatter allegedly also criticised Qatar for funding the so-called Islamic State jihadists.
A FIFA spokesperson has denied that Blatter made the comments and confirmed that Qatar will host the 2022 tournament.
In a statement to, FIFA said: “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 claims made by the sources are unfounded. The 2022 FIFA World Cup will take place in Qatar.
“Among the subjects discussed that evening were in fact the Handshake for Peace project – a joint initiative between the Norwegian FA, the Nobel Peace Center and FIFA – and the impending UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying match between Norway and Bulgaria, at which FIFA president was present that evening as a guest of honour at the invitation of the Norwegian FA.
“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 Chancellor Angela Merkel.”
The spokesman also dismissed claims that Blatter rebuked the emirate’s rulers for funding Islamic State, saying: “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.
“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.”
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