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Brazilian legend Zico says Qatar ´doesn´t have football´

Former Brazil international Zico has rubbished Qatar’s prospective World Cup, claiming the event should not be held “in a country that doesn’t have football”.

Qatar infamously won the right to host the 2022 World Cup in 2010, with widespread claims of corruption surrounding the country’s bid.

Global frustration with Qatar’s tarnished victory and ongoing stories of construction workers losing their lives in the process of building World Cup stadiums in the Middle Eastern kingdom provided a platform for Prince Ali bin Hussein to challenge Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency last week.

Zico is similarly unimpressed with Qatar’s mandate to host the World Cup, with the mass arrests amongst FIFA’s elite prompting the FC Goa coach to call for a new bidding process for the next two World Cups.

“With respect to Qatar as a country that wants to grow, you can’t have a World Cup in a country that doesn’t have football,” Zico said. “You cannot change the fact that all of the world is used to seeing a World Cup for one single country. Why does this country have that strength?

“I worked there [Qatar] when I was Iraq’s head coach. They don’t have 1,000 people at their stadiums. There are matches where not even the players’ families go.”

With the United States Department of Justice’s investigation into FIFA – which threw last week’s FIFA Congress into turmoil and has prompted Blatter to announce his resignation as president – casting severe doubt on Russia’s bid for the 2018 World Cup and Qatar’s for 2022, Zico believes those events cannot go ahead.

“If the irregularities are proven that there was buying of votes for this nomination, I think that, no matter who did it, we should stop and start over again, make a different kind of election,” he said. “We have time. We have here different countries, England is one of them with infrastructure to hold a World Cup.

“This happened already 1986, if I remember correctly as Colombia failed and Mexico was there and made a great World Cup.”

Zico has claimed he could lead FIFA but insists he will only stand for election as president “if the rules of the game change”.

Thu 4 Jun, 2015
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