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Thu 18 Jul 2013 12:00 PM

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FIFA boss officially seeks winter change for Qatar 2022

Sepp Blatter says FIFA needs to have the courage to move the Qatar World Cup to winter

FIFA boss officially seeks winter change for Qatar 2022
FIFA President Sepp Blatter

The boss of world football's governing body will officially seek to have the 2022 World Cup in Qatar moved to a winter tournament.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said he would ask the executive committee at its October meeting to consider the change.

"We still have enough time,” international media quoted him as saying.

"The executive committee will certainly follow my proposal. Then we will have dealt with the topic for good.

"The World Cup must be a festival of the people. But for it to be such a festival, you can't play football in the summer.

"You can cool down the stadiums but you can't cool down the whole country and you can't simply cool down the ambience of a World Cup. The players must be able to play in the best conditions to play a good World Cup."

The head of the organising committee for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Hassan Al-Thawadi, also reiterated his openness to changing the timing of the tournament.

"If it's a wish of the football community to have the World Cup in winter, then we are open to that," Al-Thawadi said.

There has been increasingly concern over hosting the event in Qatar, where temperatures can soar past 50C.

However, despite Blatter’s comments, FIFA rules require Qatar to request to change its bid to host the World Cup and it would likely lead to several legal challenges.

Countries that lost out on the bid - the US, Australia, South Korea and Japan – could seek to have a re-vote based on the fact Qatar was not adhering to its original bid.

Moving the World Cup also would significant disrupt Europe leagues such as the English Premier League.

Chief executive of Bundesliga, Germany’s national football league, Christian Seifert, warned in May that any such move could lead to affected European leagues to sue FIFA over losses caused by disruptions to their competitions.

But Blatter said that should not prevent the World Cup from being moved.

"We have to have the courage - that is Fifa's executive committee - to play this World Cup in the winter and to start to work out now what impact this will have on the international calendar," he said.

"It would only be for one year, afterwards you'd be back to the normal routine. But I will advocate that."

Blatter first hinted he would prefer a winter competition in March.

On Wednesday he said his opinion had been reinforced following medical information about the effects of the heat on players.

"There has been a fresh medical investigation into what it would be like to play football there in the summer and we have to take into account the health, not of the spectators, but of the players," he told Sky Germany.

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veronica chapman 6 years ago

I have to say I was very shocked when Qatar was agreed for the world cup, after myself living in the emirates for over thirty years.
i am european by birth and have to say the weather in the summer can be a killer, reaching often over 50 deg.

Peter 6 years ago

This xxxx convinced the world that Qatar had the technology to hoist the World cup in their 50 C summer and now is convincing the world of something else and the world just let's it go?
He says: "The World Cup must be a festival of the people.” – so why did you sell the World Cup to a country where public parties are restricted?
He goes on with: “You can cool down the stadiums but you can't cool down the whole country” – really? when did you come up with such a brilliant new conclusion? Still today, I doubt that there was such technology!!!!
The articles proceeds “There has been increasingly concern over hosting the event in Qatar, where temperatures can soar past 50C.” – that must be a new factor totally unknown when the bid was awarded to Qatar! It must have been the global warming in Qatar only since the world cup was awarded! For sure there is no other explanation$$$$$!