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FIFA President: ‘Qatar World Cup? My Bad.’

sepp blatter fifa

From the Olympics to the Super Bowl, cities around the world have made it a mission to win “announcements.” You know? When the desired event (e.g., RNC 2016, DNC 2016, Tea Party, well, you get the idea), holds a press conference, opens an envelope, and immediately creates millions of dollars in economic impact for a city?

Yeah, Futbol (or Soccer, if you are so domesticated) does this in a big form.

Getting the World Cup for its quadrennial global championship means huge money for the host city in tourism, shopping, dining, lodging, and of course, sport watching. FIFA President Sepp Blatter recently announced that Qatar — a rumored opulent peninsula bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia — would host the 2022 World Cup.

Except now, he wishes he never said a word. 

Backtracking on comments is never a good thing in PR, but when that glaring ‘beep-beep-beep’ noise is heard globally, it really make a mark. In an interview with Swiss TV station RTS (recorded here by Al-Jazeera News), Blatter admits his foibles because in the summer, it gets a little tepid in the desert.

When asked if the decision was a mistake due to the high temperatures, he replied: “Of course, it’s an error”, before adding: ”You know, everyone makes mistakes in life.” Blatter added: “The technical report of Qatar indicated it was quite hot during the summer. However, the executive committee, with an overwhelming majority, decided that the games would be in Qatar.”

Hey Qatar. How’s that for a ringing endorsement? “Everyone makes mistakes in life.” I’m guessing that was not on the interview prep from FIFA’s global PR team. However, world rights advocates thinks the apology should be for something else. Say, slave labor?

This report by UK’s The Guardian is a scathing indictment — with numbers to back it up — of how Qatar have pushed people to the breaking point, paying them below minimum wage, and all in good fun to get said World Cup. In fact, the slug reads:

World Cup construction ‘will leave 4,000 migrant workers dead’

MEMO to Sepp Blatter: Two notes for your PR future — You have a serious crisis on your hands, and misters in the mezzanine isn’t going to clear this one up.

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