Brazil legend Pele says FIFA got it wrong over Qatar World Cup

Brazil legend Pele says FIFA got it wrong over Qatar World Cup

Brazilian football icon Pele has criticised FIFA's decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup, admitting it is "difficult to understand".

Ever since the Gulf state was awarded the right to host football’s showpiece event back in December 2010, it has faced heavy criticism.

Allegations of corruption in the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups have been followed by the controversy over worker’s rights following a report by Amnesty that highlighted poor conditions for those helping to build the infrastructure for the Qatar tournament.

Concerns about playing during high summer temperatures have also forced FIFA to set up a commission to discuss switching it to a winter tournament and a November date.

As a result, Pele, a three-time World Cup winner, is skeptical of Qatar's ability to host a successful tournament not least as he claims the game's governing body "doesn't know what to do".

"It was difficult to understand the decision because it was a big, big change in the way to decide where the World Cup will be," said Pele in Dubai on Monday.

"I think we are going to have a huge challenge for the rest of the world to adapt.

"They are still to decide exactly how it is going to be [staged] but until now, because the time to see the games will be two or three in the morning in certain countries. Even FIFA doesnt know what to do."

While Qatar officials are adamant they can still host a summer tournament despite the soaring temperatures, they have said they would be willing to host it in the winter if instructed to by FIFA.

FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke hinted early this year that the likelihood is that the tournament will be moved to winter, although the game's governing body have yet to make an official decision.

Pele, who won the World Cup in 1958, 1962 and 1970, added: "They tried to discuss this switch but unfortunately until now they have not decided exactly how to deal with this problem."

Pele hits back

Of more immediate concern for both FIFA and Pele is the next edition of the World Cup, which is being held in Brazil this summer.

Controversy has engulfed the staging of the tournament in Pele's homeland due the spiralling costs involved - which are believed to be around £8 billion.

Protests continue throughout the country, with Pele branded "traitor of the century" last week by some demonstrators over his support of the tournament.

Pele, 73, attempted to diffuse the row by explaining what he exactly meant by his original comments in which he condemned protestors for their actions.

"I had a little problem because I was against the protest against the players, because the corruption was not from the players. The corruption was from the poltical people."

He added: "I agree with the people, they need hospitals, I agree they need a better life but I cannot agree that they boo the players."