Sepp Blatter, Fifa president, giving the keynote speech at the Arabian Sponsorship Forum at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi on Monday. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Dubai: Former Fifa President Sepp Blatter has blamed former French president Nicolas Sarkozy for pressuring ex-Fifa vice-president and French national Michel Platini into awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

In a tweet that followed this weekend’s Sunday Times report, which claims Qatar orchestrated a smear campaign against their host bid rivals, Blatter said: “Bad news: Qatar accused of denigration of other bidders! Fact is Qatar won after a political intervention by the former French President Sarkozy to Fifa Vice President Platini. More information in my book, Ma Verite (My Truth) Chapter 10.”

Both Blatter and Platini were dismissed by Fifa and banned for eight years in 2015 following accusations of corruption.

Fifa’s new administration under current President Gianni Infantino are under increasing pressure to punish Qatar and prove their commitment to clean up the sport, if it is found an initial inquiry into corruption surrounding the Gulf state’s bid was unaware of these latest claims by the Sunday Times.