Qatar upset over talk of winter World Cup in 2022

Reuters, Friday 14 Jan 2011

Mohammed Bin Hammam, the Qatari president of the Asian Football Confederation, has said the 2022 World Cup hosts will resist efforts to reschedule the tournament in the winter.

Mohammed Bin Hammam & Blatter

“We submitted a bid suggesting we are going to be ready in June and July. And we said we are going to face all the challenges and we are going to meet all the requirements,” Bin Hammam told Sky News. “Our focus is June, July. It is never our interest to change one week beyond June and July.”

FIFA president Sepp Blatter told reporters last week that he expected the World Cup to be moved to the winter months but added the world governing body could not act unless the Qatari FA asked them for permission.

Confusingly, Blatter also said that FIFA had the final say in all matters relating to the staging of the World Cup, implying that even if Qatar did not ask for it to be moved FIFA could still do so.

Bin Hammam, who is considering standing against Blatter in June’s FIFA presedential election, added that the structure of Fifa is “not helpful or useful to our world”.

In another twist UEFA president Michel Platini said this week that Qatar could share the World Cup with some of its neighbours in the Gulf, another suggestion rejected by bin Hamamm who said: “Qatar can stand alone and organise the competition by itself.” Afshin Ghotbi, the influential manager of Iran told Reuters in an interview on Thursday, if FIFA wanted the World Cup to be co-hosted, then it should be put back to tender among the bidding nations who lost out to Qatar in the vote.

“Qatar has shown it can host it, so it should be here and it should be in the winter time—that is a logical change, but it is not fair to talk about changing the venues at this stage,” he said.

In an interview with CNN on Thursday Blatter said that the Fifa executive committee “vote more with their heart than they vote with their head”.

He said it “would be unfair” to hold a Qatar World Cup in the summer if it were possible to do so in January.

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