Amidst calls from several groups for a boycott of upcoming World Cup hosts Russia and Qatar, Fifa president Sepp Blatter said that such drastic moves should not be considered, citing negative effects that can happen, not only on the league, but also on the nations participating.
“Football should be united, sport should be united when it comes to boycotts. Boycotts have never had any results… we have to go therem,” Blatter said during his address to the annual UEFA congress in Vienna.
Blatter made the statement amidst calls from several politicians and lawmakers for the football governing body to abandon plans of holding World Cup finals in Russia and Qatar on the grounds of human rights issues and alleged corruption. The two countries have been named as the hosts for the 2018 (Russia) and 2022 (Qatar) editions.
German Football League president Reinhard Rauball argued last week that cases of mistreatment of immigrant workers in the construction sites for the Qatar World Cup should take precedence over concerns about the date of the finals.
However, Blatter remains optimistic of the positive outcome that hosting the World Cup would bring to the two countries. “A World Cup in Russia will be able to stabilise all the situations in this region of Europe,” he claimed in an earlier Fifa press conference.
Blatter also stressed the influence that the league has all over the world. “We reach 1.6 billion people. FIFA is more influential than any country in the world or any religion through the positive emotions football triggers,”
We move masses. And we want to make use of this to create more peace, equality and health in this world,” he further stated/, Blatter then urged the league to play a bigger socio-cultural role in helping member nations.
The 79-year old president is currently seeking a fi8fth term as Fifa head in the organization’s upcoming elections.