LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – Sepp Blatter has blasted his successor as FIFA head Gianni Infantino for thinking he can ride roughshod over decisions already made by the organization after plans for a 48-team 2022 World Cup were shelved.
Speaking to AFP, disgraced Blatter said that “you can’t just change willy-nilly rulings taken by the executive committee,” adding that Infantino wanted to “revoke” the decision made in December 2010 to make the 2022 World Cup in Qatar a 32-team tournament.
The expansion, which was scrapped on Wednesday evening, was a pet project of Infantino, who pushed the idea despite the need for Qatar’s fellow Gulf nations to put aside a two-year blockade and help to host the proposed larger tournament.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut all ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing Doha of supporting Iran and Islamist groups, and while Kuwait and Oman have not taken sides in the crisis Oman said in April it was “not ready” to host matches.
“Wanting at any cost to organize the World Cup in the (Gulf) region . . . he knew very well that was like going into a nest of vipers and it is not football’s role to get involved with all that,” said Blatter, 83, who is serving a six-year ban from world soccer following the worst corruption scandal in FIFA’s history.