x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Zinedine Zidane 'keen to spread football in Middle East'

Former France star claims backing for Qatar 2022 World Cup bid was not about money.

Zinedine Zidane has insisted his decision to back Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid was motivated by a pledge to help football spread its roots in the Middle East, rather than because of money.

In an interview with sports daily L'Equipe on Wednesday, the former France star denied suggestions he received "€10, 11, 12, 13 million" to promote the bid and said he was interested in a "project that's beneficial for the future of sport".

Qatar surprised many observers when it beat competition from the United States, Australia, South Korea and Japan to host the Fifa tournament.

Zidane acknowledges that he did get paid "a lot of money" but that "it wasn't even a third of these sums" reported in various media outlets since Qatar won the vote in December.