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Jan 7, 2011

Blatter expects winter World Cup

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said he expects the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to be staged in the winter rather than the traditional summer slot.

• AFC want winter World Cup
• Asian Cup team-by-team guide
• Duerden: Qatar want a West-side story
• Asian Cup history

The decision to award football's showpiece event to the tiny Middle Eastern country was a controversial one and many critics predicted it would have far-reaching repercussions.

Speaking in the Qatari capital Doha before the opening match of the Asian Cup, Blatter said: "I expect it [the World Cup] will be held in the winter.

"We have time to look at this question, it is still 11 years away but we must decide the most adequate period for a successful World Cup which means January or the end of the year."

Summer temperatures in Qatar can soar to over 40 degrees Celsius while those in the winter months are far more comfortable.

If the World Cup is switched from its traditional date in June and July it will have a huge impact on domestic football's fixture list.

Germany coach Joachim Low said on Wednesday he was opposed to playing the 2022 World Cup during winter, saying it would be a disadvantage to fans in Europe.

"At the World Cup in 2006, the European Championships in 2008 and the World Cup in 2010, there were millions on the streets ... if the World Cup in 2022 takes place in winter, no fan is going to be on the street if it's minus five degrees (23 degrees Fahrenheit)," Low said.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who had supported England's failed 2018 bid, said the the entire football programme around the world would have to change to accommodate a winter World Cup.

"It looks like an idea that has come out of nowhere because nobody was told that when the bid was voted for,'' he said. "That is a bit of a surprise and certainly it would mean that the whole world of football has to be reorganised.

"As you know we have a Christmas period which is quite busy here and England would be very happy to play the World Cup in January just after that. It would demand a complete reorganisation of the whole world's fixtures and I cannot see that happening."

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