Blatter to ask to move 2022 World Cup
Sepp Blatter has confirmed that he will ask the FIFA executive committee to move the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to the winter, insisting: "Where there's a will, there's a way."
Temperatures in the Gulf state can reach 50°C during the summer, and FIFA president Blatter told L’Equipe in May that it is “not rational and reasonable to play in June-July”.
UEFA president Michel Platini and Qatar 2022 World Cup committee secretary general Hassan Al Thawadi are among those who believe holding the tournament in the winter is the best solution.
Speaking in Austria on Wednesday, Blatter said: “There is still enough time. I will bring this up to the executive committee.
“If this World Cup is to become a party for the people, you can’t play football in the summer. You can cool down the stadiums, but you can’t cool down the whole country.”
Concerns have been raised about the impact a winter World Cup would have on domestic leagues around Europe, with the Qatar tournament threatening to disrupt schedules for three seasons.
Bundesliga chief executive Christian Seifert said in May: "I'm not sure of the credibility of FIFA. It shows me FIFA, as a body which says what's good for the game, ignores completely the day-by-day basis in those leagues who are effectively the core and the heart of football - not the tournament that comes up every four years."
Questions have also been raised as to whether the switch would be legitimate, given that Qatar had bid on the basis of holding a summer tournament.
David Bernstein, who as FA chairman had backed England’s bid to host the 2018 tournament, said last month: "My personal view is that it would be a case of a false prospectus if the 2022 World Cup in Qatar was switched to the winter. It is a serious matter bidding for the World Cup, and countries including ourselves spent huge amounts of money bidding for the tournament."
He added: "The bid was for the World Cup to be played in June and July, and for it then to be moved to the winter would be fundamentally flawed. If people want it in the winter, they should bid for it on that basis. To try and get it through the back door like this is absolutely flawed."