Fifa deny Blatter Qatar criticism reports

The game’s world governing body has moved quickly to dispel rumours their leader claimed the nation would lose its status as host of the 2022 tournament

Fifa has denied reports that president Sepp Blatter stated that Qatar would be stripped of the 2022 World Cup.

German newspaper Der Spiegel claimed that Blatter told members of the Norwegian Football Association that the Gulf state would not hold football’s greatest showpiece during a dinner in Oslo last month.

Blatter is alleged to have said Qatar’s rulers are “arrogant” and “think they’re allowed to do anything with their money”.

However, football’s world governing body has subsequently issued a strong rebuttal and insist the claims are unfounded.

“With regard to the story in Der Spiegel, Fifa wants to reiterate that the information provided by the sources‎ does not reflect what actually happened at the dinner in question, which was held during the FIFA president’s visit to Oslo in October,” read a statement from FIFA.

“The claims made by the sources are unfounded. The 2022 FIFA World Cup will take place in Qatar.

“Among the subjects discussed that evening were in fact the Handshake for Peace project – a joint initiative between the Norwegian FA, the Nobel Peace Center and Fifa – and the impending Uefa Euro 2016 qualifying match between Norway and Bulgaria, at which the Fifa President was present that evening as a guest of honour at the invitation of the Norwegian FA.

“The topic of Qatar and the 2022 World Cup were talked about very briefly. Dates were discussed as there are presently discussions taking place to determine when will be the best time to stage the tournament in that calendar year and the Emir [Qatari monach], who had visited FIFA President Blatter only a few days earlier in Zurich, was mentioned.”