Never one to stand for FIFA being blamed for anything, Sepp Blatter has decided that France and Germany should be held accountable for Qatar being awarded the 2022 World Cup. Blatter came up with this defense after his audience with Pope Francis.
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. [...]
"It's easy to say all the responsibilities lie on FIFA. No, no, we are part of this responsibility," Blatter said.
Blatter isn't completely pulling these accusations out of his backside, though. There have been reports that former French president Nicolas Sarkozy "colluded" to deliver the World Cup to Qatar, pressuring FIFA president Michel Platini to switch his vote from the United States to Qatar. But it was the German Football Federation that called for an investigation into Qatar getting the World Cup in 2011.
Amnesty International recently published a report that said migrant workers building Qatar's World Cup infrastructure are "treated like cattle."
And just so you don't think Blatter is big-headed or anything, we'll conclude with this anecdote he relayed from his meeting with the pope on the subject of comparing the number of people who participate in football to the number of practicing catholics. From the AP:
"We have 1.2 billion people and (the pope) said, 'I have no more than 1 billion,'" Blatter said with a laugh.