Top Stories

Friday Kickoff: Blatter calls Qatar World Cup a mistake; Messi agrees to restructured Barca deal; and more

SeppBlatterFIFA8 (Reuters)


FIFA President Sepp Blatter has seemingly joined the public opposition against the 2022 World Cup taking place in Qatar, going as far to call it “a mistake.”

In an interview with Swiss TV channel RTS, Blatter admitted that Qatar shouldn’t have been voted to host the 2022 World Cup based on recommendations from the technical report, which raised concerns about players playing in extreme heat during the summer.

“Of course, it was a mistake. You know, one makes a lot of mistakes in life,” Blatter told RTS. “The technical report indicated clearly that it was too hot in summer, but despite that the executive committee decided with quite a big majority that the tournament would be in Qatar.”

Blatter decried political pressure from governmental leaders who were set to gain from Qatar receiving the World Cup to many nations voting for Qatar in the FIFA elections. Blatter referenced a meeting that former French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy had with the Emir of Qatar and FIFA Vice-President Michel Platini just prior to the vote.

The 78-year-old Blatter’s comments could be seen as a political ploy, coming just a year before FIFA will have presidential elections. Blatter recently said that he was willing to continue as president, despite promising in the 2011 elections that he would stand down in 2015.

Here are some more stories to start off your Friday:


With the 2013-2014 season winding down, Lionel Messi has reportedly once again become one of soccer’s biggest earners.

Barcelona announced on Friday morning that they’ve agreed with Messi and his representatives on a reworking of his current contract, which runs through 2018. According to reports in Spain, the new deal includes a release clause of 250 million euros ($343 million) and an improved yearly salary of 20 million euros (after taxes), up from 13 million euros. There will also reportedly be another 5 million euros available in performance-based incentives.

“FC Barcelona has reached an agreement to adjust the terms in the contract binding Leo Messi to the club as a professional first team player,” a statement from Barcelona read. “The revised and updated contract will be signed over the next few days.”

The reports state that the main talking points between the two sides in negotiations centered around Messi’s image rights, though it’s unknown exactly how that will be split up in this new contract. Barcelona began discussions with Messi’s representatives recently after finishing matters with Neymar and his controversial transfer to the Catalan club.


After 90 minutes of the Liga MX Clausura final, Pachuca has grabbed control of the two-legged tie by the scruff of the neck.

With Club Leon gunning for a second consecutive Liga MX title, Pachuca stunned La Fiera at Estadio Leon with a 3-2 victory, taking three away goals back to Estadio Hidalgo for the second leg on Sunday. Enner Valencia led the way for Los Tuzos, extending his Clausura leading goal-tally to 18, while 41-year-old Oscar “El Conejo” Perez made a few tremendous saves in goal for Pachuca.

Mexican national team midfielder Carlos Peña gave the home crowd a reason to cheer with the opening goal in the 34th minute, but Valencia responded for Pachuca three minutes before halftime to tie up the score. Valencia scored again in the 61st minute via a header and 18-year-old forward Hirving Lozano scored in the 69th minute to put Pachuca up by two.

An own-goal by Pachuca cut the deficit to one in the 77th minute but Perez pulled off a couple of acrobatic saves to keep Pachuca in front.


Manchester United are reportedly facing losses of $84 million this season after finishing in seventh place in the Premier League and not qualifying for the UEFA Champions League. (REPORT)

Celta Vigo boss Luis Enrique confirmed that he would be stepping down following the season, with strong rumors that he’ll be taking over at Barcelona ahead of next season. (REPORT)

No Brazilian clubs have qualified for the Copa Libertadores semifinals, with the final four consisting of Bolivia’s Bolivar, Argentina’s San Lorenzo, Uruguay’s Defensor Sporting, and Paraguay’s Nacional. (REPORT)

CSKA Moscow have retained the Russian Premier League title after beating city rivals Lokomotiv Moscow on the final day of the season. (REPORT)

Italian national team manager Cesare Prandelli admitted that he seriously considered recalling Francesco Totti into Italy’s World Cup preliminary squad before deciding to ultimately go with younger players. (REPORT)

Robin Van Persie will captain the Netherlands in their first pre-World Cup friendly on Saturday, with manager Louis Van Gaal telling a Dutch TV station that Van Persie must get fit. Van Persie missed two months late this season with a knee injury. (REPORT)

Tigres UANL star forward Alan Pulido is linked with a move to Olympiakos following the World Cup. (REPORT)

Former Mexican national team manager Javier Aguirre will be out of a job this summer, with Espanyol and Aguirre agreeing to a mutual termination of his contract. (REPORT)


What do you think of these reports? Do you think Blatter’s comments are too little too late? What do you think of Messi’s latest deal? Impressed with Pachuca’s road form?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. As ridiculous as the Blatter flip-flop was, how is this even possible:

    “includes a release clause of 250 million euros ($343 million) and an improved yearly salary of 20 million euros (after taxes)”

    A release clause worth 12.5x Messi’s annual salary means no one will ever try to acquire Messi. How do they figure these things?

  2. US Soccer should announce a 2022 international tournament the same time as the world cup. Make the announcement right after this years cup.
    Let other federations decide if they want to blindly follow a blatantly corrupt organization or not.
    If 2 or 3 of the Big Federation pledge to attend the US tourney in protest of the entire Qatar Fiasco I bet the dominoes would fall. FIFA would either cave, or cease to exist.

    Of course if it didn’t work we would probably never be invited to another world cup.

    • good idea…. however, there is corruption at the Confederation level as well…

      first, no single country can jump FIFA, it has to be the entire Confederation like Conmebol, Concacaf, Asia, EUFA, etc. second, Presidents at those Confederations always go with whatever Blatter says…

      Why did hosting the WC had to change, it was always fine alternating between the Americas and Europe. It needs to go back to that format.

  3. Don’t know if anyone cares, but Bernd Schuster just got himself tossed from the Malaga – Levante match for shoving an official.

  4. I hope the people who protest Qatar hosting the World Cup do the same with Russia. If the “No To Racism” campaign means anything (which, obviously, it doesn’t, but I digress), then Russia never should have been in contention. That organized protest by Zenit St. Petersburg’s main supporters club — a protest demanding that the club sign no dark-skinned Africans or South Americans, or homosexual players — should have disqualified Russia, especially since the Russian federation did nothing (to the best of my knowledge) to sanction Zenit.

    We all know that Qatar and Russia bribed their way to the World Cup. Not even Sepp-tic Tank Blatter can pretend otherwise. All he’s doing is covering his sorry behind so he can remain on the gravy train.

    • Russia has to be so happy that Qatar is hosting as well because you are right nobody is paying attention to them. They don’t exactly have a great human rights record and their supporters have very recently made their views on anyone other than whites very clear.

  5. In other Friday news: just read on ze Twitter that Junior Flores declined a callup to the mighty El Salvador National Team. Shocking.

  6. And watch when the 2022 World Cup rolls around, Blatter (if he’s around) or whoever is in charge, will say well done Qatar on a fabulous World Cup and being an “example” to the world.

  7. You guys have to see this docu about the construction of the stadiums in Qatar WC..
    How people from other country’s come to Qatar for work. Bad housing, low pay, people die…
    FIFA it’s not paying attention or they are hiding it..

    • Ive’s posted the video a few days ago and there was quite the discussion about it. It’s the ESPN E:60 report. Although the video is now not viewable.

  8. I will split the difference and say that FIFA as an organization is totally corrupt, and that Blatter is but one (big) cog in a corrupt (but profitable) machine. I’m not so concerned about FIFA losing money if they moved the Qatar WC. They would lose a ton of money up front, but then make a ton if they moved the event to a country where the infrastructure was almost completely present already. Hmm, I wonder where that might be. There are tons of justifications that might be used that allow FIFA not to completely lose face. The problem is that individual members took money from the Qataris (which happens every cycle, so let’s not get caught up on this being Qatar–it’s a systemic problem) and extricating themselves from that might not be so fun.

  9. I know it isn’t an article here but Mandzukic has been told he will be leaving Bayern, evidently him and Pep do not get along. He will not feature in the DFB final and is already in the Croatian camp, not even with Bayern anymore. Will be interesting to see where he goes this summer.

  10. The article that Ive’s has a link to adds that Blattar said: “No, I have never said it was bought, but that it was due to political considerations. We know full well that big French and German companies work in Qatar but they don’t just work for the World Cup. The World Cup is only a small part of what is going on in Qatar.”

    Not a fan of Blatter at all, but he claims he voted for the USA bid. Europe has a lot at stake with Qatar economically. Russia and Qatar are the biggest suppliers of natural gas. Is it a coincidence that hey are the next two host of the World Cup? Many constructions companies from France, Germany and England do business with Qatar and other Middle East countries. Beyond the suspected bribes or kick backs, political intrigue definitely played a part in how UEFA members voting for Qatar.

    If nothing changes with Qatar 2022. The one lesson the rest of the World should have learned is that Platini should never be the president of FIFA and that a FIFA dominated by UEFA will only result in more dubious Euro-centric decisions.

    If the next election was Blatter vs Platini, I’d have to say I’d want Sepp back.

  11. I can just see the backroom meeting of Blatter telling Qatar, “I’m going to bash publicly bash the World Cup being in the heat and it being a mistake, but will make sure nothing will be done to change this.” I’ll take cash or check.

  12. Suggestion:

    For 2022, we use the current WC qualification processes as a “Disqualification” process for WC 2022. That is, by winning or placing in your confederation’s final qualification round, you can kick back and enjoy cold beers at home, in a climate-controlled setting within a relatively tolerant society. Meanwhile, the losers from each qualification group will be punished to 1 month in the Qatari summer.

    For some nations, this will be a dream come true; at last we may have the chance to see the San Marino / Jamaica WC final that we have all been secretly wishing for. FIFA will go bankrupt either way, so we might as well do it with panache.

  13. How unrealistic would it be for another party to organize a non-FIFA sanctioned tournament for that summer and invite countries to come play in the other tournament. Probably very unrealistic, I’m guessing.

  14. I’ve got a huge event I need to plan for the summer years out. I get bids for venues and award it to one. The a month later, the venue says they can’t do it in the summer. Who in the world would be ok with this and not go back to the other bidders? Oh, right, FIFA plus mysterious heavy suitcases equals “the bid stands!”

  15. The NCAA would like to reiterate it’s continuing thanks to FIFA for making it look like a well-run and non-corrupt organization by comparison.

  16. Qatar shouldn’t have gotten the bid based on the technical report? Oh really?

    Come on. We all know that those reports were nothing more than glossy toilet paper. The FIFA Exec Co was born to lead, not to read.

  17. you all do do understand that Blatter didn’t give the WC to Qatar, right?
    He actually voted for the US.
    Sorry to derail the hate train.

    • +1. I dislike Blatter for a number of reasons but it is fairly well known that he actually voted for the US in that bidding. There are a number of people who believe the reason Qatar got the votes is that Platini was campaigning for them so that reason would then invest more in club football. This whole thing is posturing for the next election at this point. I really do not like Blatter at all but if my options are him or Platini I’d actually rather stay with Sepp, Platini is not a good option.

      • Correct. Blatter is awful but was not a supporter of the Qatar bid. But neither did he push to have the process re-bid after it became clear that the summer bid (with magic air conditioners) wasn’t going to happen. So he’s not free of blame. More importantly, neither he nor anyone else at FIFA seems to give a hoot about the fact that Qatar is a Petro-Dollar apartheid state. I know that word is loaded but it’s deserved.

      • +1.

        I am well past the voting and bidding process. Quite frankly complaining about it makes one sound like sour grapes. My problem is that the vote stood, even with everything we knew and are learning – the vote stands. None have the rocks to revisit this even with all the time on the clock to fix it.

      • I don’t really care how Blatter voted, because, among other things, I don’t think you can take his vote at face value. He must have been aware that the overwhelming majority of the executive committee was voting for Qatar. If you can get what you want, and save some face with an innocuous vote, why not?

    • You do understand that our comments, that you reduced to a “hate train”, go beyond the actual vote, right? You do also know how voting works too, right? Sepp cold have voted for us 10 times and Qatar would have still won the cup.

      But, yes, Sepp voted for the US so he’s gotta be aaaalright in the ugly FIFA machine! I see that now, so clearly. Thank you.

    • Yup. Blatter was never for the WC in Qatar.

      He’s saying “oh no the WC was a mistake” purely for political gain now with the elections coming up next year. As the outrage grows, he’ll side with those countries and make some empty promise to solidify their vote, get elected again, and then it’s business as usual…the tournament will be moved to the winter and slaves will continue to be killed.

      Blatter’s a dope, but he is a smart politician. That has always been the case.

    • Maybe because he knew the vote was ready secured and he knew that it was going to turn out exactly like this so he could turn around and say, “hey, I voted for the US”. Never put it past the guy.

    • Blatter claimed he supported the US bid. We don’t really know how he voted as it’s a secret ballot. I’ve always been suspicious of his public claims of this.

  18. It’s a mistake because it’s too hot, really, that’s the only reason? Qatar disregarding basic human decency can’t get a nod? Regardless, with both of these things being known before the decision to give Qatar the cup, how is it all of a sudden a mistake now? Because Sepp realizes it could cost him his job, or because he’s hearing rumblings of a 2022 boycott? This man disgusts and infuriates me.

    • +1,000. I really think the entire football world, and world in general (after all, this is much more important than football) should boycott this cup and demand it to be played somewhere else. This is not the game I know and love. These Qatari’s (and for that matter, most Rich people from the Arabian Peninsula), treat the poor as sub-humans, as if their lives don’t matter one bit. They ignore them completely. I saw first hand in Dubai. Qatar is even worse. Makes me sick. Too much damage has already been done. As far as I’m concerned, any global reaction will be long overdue and way too late. I also think the entire FIFA Organization needs to be disbanded and a new group, controlled more by the fans, needs to govern the beautiful game.

      On a softer note, I ran into half of our boys back in Dusseldorf Airport.. I was returning from Dubai and they were coming back from Honduras. JJ was walking up ahead, Sacha followed, then I saw D Will, Fab Jo and T Chandler all walking together. I told them to to shake it off and get em next time. Gave them an ovation, and they Timmy Chandler clapped back at me and nodded his head. Said hi to Jozy too… Was pretty cool.

      • That. Is. Awesome. I’m sure the players all appreciated your sentiments. It’s a dream of mine to run into USMNT players at the airport sometime and applaud them. I’m jealous and very happy for you!

      • Yeah, that’s very cool. Good on you for speaking up and supporting them, and nicely done by Chandler for returning the appreciation.

      • Yeah it was actually pretty funny… I had been wandering around Dusseldorf airport for like 3 1/2 hours on no sleep from a 4-day whirlwind business trip to Dubai (from Miami). I’m standing on the moving walkway (trying to kill time) and I see a guy walk by me, and I say to myself.. Wait.. That looks like a JJ fro.. As I turn back around there by walks Sacha, then the 3 Germericans. After that I saw Jozy, and said “Jozy!”, he must’ve thought I was nuts but just said “what’s up man!” Very nice.. Could’ve looked at me like I was nuts, which at that point, i was halfway there 🙂

      • Haha, I would have looked at you like you were crazy too. Good memory.

        One of my best USMNT memories was driving down to Tampa, FL from Augusta, GA in March 2007, and going to an Ecuador friendly with two of my best friends at the time. It was such an exciting game, and Lando had one of his most beautiful games, getting started on a hat trick in the first minute.

        P.S. I really liked those third uniforms that year, if they were a darker blue they might be my favorites.

      • i remember watching that game. LD was amazing that day.

        i agree, those uniforms were awesome. bought that one during the 2007 copa america with Dempsey’s name even though he wasn’t on the roster.

      • Eh, I’m sure FIFA could get out of any contract as Qatar has already violated so many promised deliverables.

        Qatar is in complete default of its obligations. FIFA can walk away wallets full.

      • How do you figure? Fifa drops the bill on Qatar, and then opens up bidding for 2022 all over again. A new round of bribes, a new round of outrage (England? Hello, England?), and then they hold it in Spain or Italy, where the stadiums – and the Fifa executives dachas – are all already in place. Double your take!

  19. Tells you the decision was not based upon the strongest application or what is best for the players. They are driven by one thing, and one thing only…GREED!!!!!!!!

  20. There was a case to be made about including more countries into the WC hosting business (which is not an easy thing to do) but even the very staunch supporters of that notion had to have some serious, serious doubts about Qatar. Mistakes, Sepp? Brazil was a mistake brought on by sentimental blindness. Qatar is a freaking catastrophe in every way you look at it and all the money in the world was never going to fix any of the issues we could all see 12 years out.

    This is sad actually because it is the corruption and hubris of a powerful few that will threaten the foundations of the game I love so much and one of, if not the best, world events ever known. But maybe, like the IOC, this is what helps clean up the house a bit.

    Sepp – the lying, slimy, apex, super predator of bottom feeding things – still finds a way to flip this for some kind of political gain. How someone like this sleeps at night or looks himself in the mirror will forever baffle me.

  21. I like how Blatter used the ‘everyone makes mistakes’ spiel. It’s as if FIFA misspelled something on their website rather than awarded one of the biggest sporting events in the world to corrupt country with absolutely no soccer history that is using slave labor to build its stadiums.

    • In fairness, he did criticize ExComm and didn’t just go all “mistakes were made” passive voice.

    • Ben, may I also add: A country with an area less than Connencticut’s … a country with just 1 decent-sized city (the population of the entire rest of the country is only about ~ 200K) … a main city that considers a 100F high in June or July to be a little chilly … a country with a human rights record that’s a bit suspect (putting it very mildly) … a country that actually had to confirm that all eligible potential qualifiers would be allowed to participate (i.e., Israel) But I guess more importantly, a per captia GDP of $98K.

      • Thanks for the specifics, puts my generalizations to shame! And let’s also remember that there is a stadium design that includes rainbow colors in a country where homosexuals are definitely not welcome. Ironic, huh?

  22. “You see, these political factors should play no role in our decisions. They just get in the way of the conventional one-on-one bribery.”

    • I thought “political factors” was a euphemism for bribes.


      “Highly complex political factors” means: You will need to increase your offer.

      And finally, that:

      “After intense negotiations, we have reached a satisfactory settlement agreeable to all parties.” means: The checks have cleared.

      I’m pretty sure “we made a mistake.” means: “They didn’t pay us enough to cover up this mess, we should have demanded more.”

  23. Pfft. Hey Blatter, we could have told you that two years ago. But no, you decided to listen to the people with the magic flying air conditioners (and large piles of cash).

    • It was not a mistake at all.

      By picking Qatar, Sepp and his gang got to pocket a bunch of premium bribes. Now with all the controversy that is swirling thanks things like slave labor, homophobia and anti-semitism, Sepp and Co. can now receive a second round bribes from Qatar to keep the cup and perhaps from other countries that want to take it away.

    • A joke that has lined his pockets quite nicely…

      I am wondering if you will see a player led boycott of Qatar if the magical A/C stadia don’t materialise

      • If the sponsors and federations don’t boycott, I think the players will, even if there is air-conditioned stadiums. It would be for human reasons, not in protest of the temperature, but Sepp wants to steer the dialogue away from the nearly thousand dead stadium workers.

      • Of course not. The best players, ergo the ones that matter, play in Europe. And European football is increasingly dependent on petrodollars to exist. Who do you think pays the bills at man city? arsenal? Real Madrid? PSG? AC Milan? Heck, they got Barca to give up UNICEF! The only thing sustaining the European game right now is Arab money, American money, Asian money and Russian money. Players aren’t dumb, they know who signs their paychecks, and so do the teams. Take Barca, as an example. Reports have Messi’s new contract listing a 250m euro buyout. Which is a lot. But then the club gets 100m+ a year from Qatar. Someone pays you 100m+ a year, they own you, not the other way around. Messi, despite all the reports about the Qatar World Cup, has no problem wearing their name on his chest everywhere. He cashes their checks and keeps his mouth shut. It’s not just him, Ronaldo does as well. So does everyone on those other teams. Money talks.

    • Except, perhaps, to add that “Of course, it was a mistake. You know, one makes a lot of mistakes in life,” is particularly heartless in light of the workers who have died and lived in subhuman conditions in Qatar.

      You know, eating too many chili fries and getting a tummy ache, condoning and profiting from slavery – six of one, half a dozen of the other!

      • I HIGHLY recommend the chili fries at Mike’s Chili in Seattle. Get the large, with onions, cheese, and jalapeños. You’ll feel it latter but regret nothing.

      • Gildan, Nike and tons of BIG companies go from slave labour conditions in one country to another country for what reason? To cut costs.
        You dont care how your overly expensive favorite brands are made nor do you care where the cheap asian plastic trinkets are made.
        If you care about workers abuse, fine. But this is one of those things that you are now parrotting because of the WC bitching.

    • Disagree. He’s far worse.

      Oversimplifying things like Blatter as simply “a joke” is what allows them to slime, slither and slip under the radar until they find themselves in positions of power where they do things that are everything but funny.

      • Everyone signs these petitions to Blatter. That is like complaining to your torturer that you are being beaten.
        He is a criminal. The extent of exactly how evil the man is, is hard for to know. The signs are there, he is corrupt and probably deserves to be tried for crimes against humanity.
        The biggest problem is that everyone in FIFA executive committee is one of his crones and therefore corrupt. The only hope for cleaning up FIFA is for a complete outsider to step. Tony Blair would be a good call if the world didn’t hate the British.

    • I feel like he should have kept his yap shut, they may want to be moving the Cup for practical reasons but you want to be consistent that’s why and not that you just regret the vote and are looking for excuses.

    • This is nothing more than a political move to secure his re-election. He will be gone by 2022, so it won’t be his problem.

      What a chump.


Leave a Comment