Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter said the decision to award Qatar the right to host the World Cup was a “mistake”.
Blatter, 86, was president of FIFA when Qatar won the right to host the tournament in 2010.
The Gulf state has been criticized for its stance on same-sex relationships, its human rights record, and its treatment of migrant workers.
Qatar’s ambassador to the World Cup, Khaled Salman, said homosexuality was “damage to the mind”, which drew criticism.
Salman, the former Qatar international, told German broadcaster ZDF that LGBT people attending the tournament must “accept our rules”.
There is concern about how LGBT people are treated in Qatar.
Blatter told the BBC he was “right” when he said the tournament “should not go” to Qatar.
Blatter also said in an interview with the Swiss newspaper, “Tages-Anzeiger”, that Qatar is “a very small country” to host the tournament, and that “football and the World Cup are too big to host.”
The 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar, the first in the Middle East region in the tournament’s 92-year history, from November 20 to December 18.
12 years ago, the Executive Committee of the International Football Association (FIFA) voted by 14 to 8 in favor of Qatar hosting the tournament versus in favor of the United States, and at the same time Russia was granted the right to host the 2018 tournament.
Blatter said he voted for the United States and blamed then-UEFA President Michel Platini for tipping the vote for Qatar.
“It was a bad choice and I was responsible for that as president of the federation at the time,” he said.
“Thanks to the four votes of Platini and his team (UEFA), the World Cup went to Qatar instead of the United States. It is the truth.”
Blatter also said FIFA revised the criteria used to select host countries in 2012 after concerns were raised about the treatment of migrant workers building World Cup stadiums in Qatar.
“Since then, social considerations and human rights have been taken into account,” he added.
Blatter spent 17 years as FIFA president, but was forced to step down in 2015 over allegations that he illegally arranged the transfer of 2 million Swiss francs ($2.19 million) to Platini, who was also forced to resign from his position at FIFA.
Blatter and Platini were charged with fraud last November, but a trial in Switzerland in July found them not guilty.
The decision to grant Russia and Qatar the right to host the World Cup has faced accusations of corruption on a large scale, with two investigations launched by Swiss prosecutors and the US Department of Justice in 2015.
Qatar and Russia have long denied any wrongdoing, and both were effectively acquitted by a special FIFA investigation in 2017.
FIFA recently wrote to the competing nations asking them to “focus now on football”.
FIFA’s letter was criticized by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and LGBT activists in England and Wales, while 10 European soccer federations said “human rights are universal and apply everywhere”.
Amnesty International says that since 2010, hundreds of thousands of migrant workers have faced human rights abuses while employed on projects in Qatar.
Peaceful protests are being planned by some players, while former England player Harry Kane and nine other European captains will wear badges bearing the words “One Love”. To promote diversity and inclusion.
The Danish team’s shirt was also designed with an image of protest against Qatar, with Sherko Hommel, the supplier of the team’s sports kits, saying that it “does not want to display its logos” at the tournament, which it claims “cost thousands of lives”.