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Sepp Blatter hints at 2022 summer World Cup in Qatar

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Blatter has hinted that the 2022 World Cup will be held in summer

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has given the strongest indication yet that the 2022 Qatar World Cup will be held in the summer, not the winter.

Blatter previously stated he expected the finals to be staged in January because of the country's climate.

The tournament traditionally takes place in June and July but temperatures in Qatar in those months can top 40C.

Blatter told the BBC: "I think for the time being the matter is on ice. Everything is settled for summer."

In January, Blatter said that the successful Qatari bid was based on a summer World Cup but the Fifa executive committee was entitled to change any element of it, adding that players had to be protected from extreme weather conditions.

Everything is settled now for summer and all the 64 matches will be played in the territory of Qatar

Fifa president Sepp Blatter

But Blatter told the BBC's Brian Alexander: "Who said first that we should play in winter? It was Franz Beckenbauer, second Michel Platini and the world footballers' union (Fifpro).

"I am not in favour of one or the other. What I did say, winter is not only January or February. I think for the time being the matter is on ice."

He explained that a delegation from Qatar had visited Fifa headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, and indicated that the World Cup would be played in the summer months.

"Everything is settled now for summer and all the 64 matches will be played in the territory of Qatar," said Blatter.

Football's governing body later issued a statement clarifying the situation, stating that any potential change from a summer to winter World Cup in 2022 would be "first be requested by the competition organizers and presented to the Fifa Executive Committee for analysis".

Blatter added: "In the bidding documents it was clearly established that the executive committee reserved the right to change anything in the bidding process, but here in this case it must come from Qatar."

Qatar beat Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States to host the tournament in the vote held by Fifa's executive committee on 2 December 2010 in Zurich.

I'll be honest, there was a bundle of votes between Spain and Qatar

Sepp Blatter

Blatter also appeared to confirm that there had been some form of alliance between the World Cup bids from Spain/Portugal and Qatar ahead of December's vote in Zurich.

A Fifa investigation cleared the two bidding countries of any wrongdoing, but Blatter said: "I'll be honest, there was a bundle of votes between Spain and Qatar.

"But it was a nonsense. It was there but it didn't work, not for one and not for the other side."

Following England's failure to pick up more than two votes for their 2018 bid, Prime Minister David Cameron described the way world football is governed as "murky".

Blatter defended Fifa, although he again stressed that the decision to hold the vote for two World Cups at the same time was a mistake that will not be repeated.

"I don't like the word murky in this context. Have you ever had in the world transparency in votes or elections? You do not know who will win until the end.

"Those that have lost, I can understand they are not happy. If England had got past the first round, I'm sure they would have got more votes in the second round.

"But the problem was they didn't get through, and the same happened to Australia for 2022."

Meanwhile, Blatter suggested that he was worried about the growth of the club game and that there were club owners that have questioned the future of national teams.

"I haven't got a problem with the English Premier League, I have a problem with those leagues that use the majority of the players not from the country where the league is played," he added. "This is detrimental to the national team.

"There is a movement also, and this is a real danger - there are directors or owners of clubs, not only in England, saying why should we continue to have national teams?

"This is a struggle we have now. It's very important and one day somebody will be at the head of Fifa who represents the interests of club football."

The Swiss Fifa president also cast doubt on Uefa proposals to bring financial parity to clubs across Europe.

Uefa president Michel Platini has introduced measures where clubs must break even over a rolling three-year period from the 2012-2013 season or they could incur bans from European competitions.

With English clubs having spent £225m in the January transfer window, Blatter said he approved of the idea but could not see how it would work effectively.

"Concerning the money [in English football] and the mechanism of the economy, we can only deplore that but we cannot intervene," he stated.

"I do hope that Michel Platini will succeed but I don't know how. It's not so easy. The principle is good but how can you stop that? They say that they have this financial fair play also supported by the European Union in Brussels, but they have other problems to deal with other than football."



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see also
Hayatou 'won't challenge Blatter'
03 Feb 11 |  African
Platini proposes Gulf World Cup
12 Jan 11 |  Football
Uefa warning after transfer spree
01 Feb 11 |  Europe
Blatter expects January World Cup
07 Jan 11 |  Football
Russia & Qatar to host World Cups
02 Dec 10 |  Football


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