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Jan 14, 2011

Blatter and Platini face Qatar backlash

The scrutiny on FIFA president Sepp Blatter has intensified after Qatar declared they will not host the 2022 World Cup in winter, insisting it was "never our interest to change one week beyond June and July".

• Platini: Qatar can share cup
• Blatter wants winter World Cup

In Zurich last month, FIFA delegates voted to hold the tournament in the tiny Gulf nation but, since the decision was made, Blatter has attempted to exert his power by leading calls for the finals to be switched from their traditonal summer slot - when temperatures in Qatar can soar to 50C.

Far from impressed with Blatter's repeated claims that the tournament could be held at a different time, AFC chief Mohamed bin Hammam, who led the successful Qatar bid, has hit back by saying he firmly expected the World Cup to take place in the summer despite the "health risks" raised by a FIFA evaluation.

"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. Our focus is June, July. It is never our interest to change one week beyond June and July," bin Hamman told Sky News.

Furthermore, in response to UEFA president Michel Platini's proposal that Qatar may be asked to "share" the World Cup so that it is played across the whole of the Gulf, bin Hammam retorted: "Qatar can stand alone and organise the competition by itself."

Blatter continued to draw further criticism with a startling admission during an interview with CNN on Thursday, when he admitted that FIFA committee members "vote more with their heart than they vote with their head."

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