FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Friday warned Qatar against trying to form an imported team for the 2022 World Cup they will host and slammed the foreign team it used at the world handball championships as an “absurdity”.
“The nation of 2.2 million faces the huge challenge of forming a competitive national football team by 2022. However, this cannot be achieved by quickly naturalising players,” Blatter said in a commentary for the FIFA Weekly journal.
He said that football’s world body does not allow this, unlike the International Handball Federation.
According to Blatter, Qatar’s players, who reached last weekend’s final at the handball world championships “contradict the spirit of a national team.”
The Qatar squad included players born in Bosnia-Hercegovina, France, Spain, Cuba and Montenegro. Several have played for other national teams prior to the tournament, but handball allows players to play for more than one country.
“The fact that sport builds social bridges and brings cultures together cannot be stressed often enough,” said the FIFA president, who is campaigning for a new term in May’s election.
“However, what happened at this year’s men’s world handball championship in Qatar stretched this notion to the point of absurdity,” he said.
Under FIFA rules, a player has to have been born in the country he represents or his parents have to have been were born there. Otherwise, the player must have spent at least five years living there to qualify to play for the country. – Agence France-Presse