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Michel Platini open to World Cup 2022 timing change

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Qatar win right to host 2022 World Cup

Uefa president Michel Platini has not ruled out the idea of rescheduling the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to combat the hot weather in June and July.

Temperatures in the summer months in the Middle Eastern country can reach 40C to 50C.

"Football in the Gulf in January, that would be easier than June, why not, it's possible," said Platini.

"Many things would have to be changed in the calendar. Would we have February off and re-start the season in March?"

Qatar surprisingly emerged as the winner to host the 2022 competition, beating off competition from Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States, when the 22-man Fifa executive committee voted in their favour in Zurich on 2 December.

But Asian Football Confederation's former general secretary Peter Velappan and Fifa executive committee member Franz Beckenbauer have voiced fears the heat would pose a danger to players.

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Velappan has already argued that plans to cool stadiums and training grounds with air conditioners were "not a solution" and has advocated moving the tournament to January.

But Platini added: "In the 1994 World Cup in the United States, the temperature in Dallas, if I'm not mistaken, was 45C and nobody criticised us at the time.

"The tournament is a long time and we're talking about this with [Fifa president Sepp] Mr Blatter."

English Football Association general secretary Alex Horne recently stated that he felt the 2022 World Cup could be moved to January, while the Premier League were unwilling to comment on the possibility of a change in date.

"I think it would be possible in 12 years' time to hold the World Cup in January," Horne told Sportsweek. "It might just be preferable to subjecting fans and athletes to 50C heat in training and preparation and then games.

"It is 12 years away and during that we have time to have a serious conversation about it. I'm not sure how you do it and it is terribly difficult with regard to the various calendars, but we have 12 years to think about it."

US Soccer, which was bidding to host the 2022 World Cup also did not want to comment on Platini's proposal.

Meanwhile, Platini, who was part of the committee that voted on the destination of the 2018 and 2022 finals, endorsed the decision to award the tournaments to Russia and Qatar.

I believe that when we're finished in Russia, we'll have accomplished a lot of different things

Fifa executive member Chuck Blazer

"Russia asked why they didn't have the right to organise the World Cup and said it had already been held 10 times in Western Europe," said Platini.

"I think maybe the executive committee were sensitive to this. The same thing applies to Qatar and the Arab world.

"Morocco has applied to host the World Cup four times and lost, Egypt have also failed and Qatar asked when will the Middle East have this opportunity?

"Maybe, the members of the executive committee thought it was a good opportunity to go to that part of the world once and for all, a region that has never hosted the World Cup."

Platini stressed that European football governing body Uefa shares with Fifa the vision of staging major tournaments in new nations.

"If we're talking about developing football worldwide, which is ultimately the goal of institutions such as Fifa or if we're talking about European football, which is the goal of Uefa, well it's something beautiful," he added.

"That doesn't mean that Uefa has different objectives, we voted for Poland and Ukraine [as Euro 2012 hosts]."

England's hopes of staging a second World Cup ended when they went out in the first round of the 2018 World Cup ballot after earning only two votes.

Fifa's American member Chuck Blazer voted for Russia over England in the vote and explained his decision was based on world football's governing body continuing to take the competition to new hosts.

"I voted for Russia," Blazer told Soccer America. "England clearly had a great bid. But in the end, I look at England and say, 'What more would we have when we're finished other than what I am certain would have been a great World Cup?'

"I believe that when we're finished in Russia, we'll have accomplished a lot of different things."

"We can open up a market that is important from a world perspective.

"Everyone came away saying, 'Wow, what a great World Cup in South Africa.'

"It was a hard process to get there, but nonetheless the event was very, very successful from a TV, marketing, worldwide perspective.

"And having done it there, it gave reason for everyone in the world to say, 'We can do it here.' No longer was it reserved for only for the big countries in Europe and the Americas."



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see also
A World Cup miracle
02 Dec 10 |  Football
PR guru slates England 2018 bid
05 Dec 10 |  Football
Russia & Qatar to host World Cups
02 Dec 10 |  Football
World Cup vote photos
02 Dec 10 |  Football
England miss out in 2018 Cup vote
02 Dec 10 |  Football
Qatar keeps cool as heat is turned up
25 Nov 10 |  Football


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