Summer World Cup in Qatar settled: Blatter

Monday, February 7, 2011

LONDON - FIFA president Sepp Blatter has indicated the 2022 World Cup will be held in the summer in Qatar rather than in winter, with all the games to be played in the emirate.

“Everything is settled now for summer and all the 64 matches will be played in the territory of Qatar,” he told the BBC in an interview Monday.

Blatter had last month said he believed the World Cup would be held in the winter in view of the high summer temperatures in Qatar.

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

There have been calls - notably from UEFA president Michel Platini - for Qatar to share a winter World Cup.

Summer temperatures in Qatar can soar to 50 degrees Celsius during June and July, when the World Cup is traditionally played.

At the Asian Cup in Qatar last month, Blatter appeared to support the idea of a winter World Cup.

“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,” he said ahead of the opening game of the Asian Cup.

“The FIFA executive committee is entitled to change anything that was in the bid. When you play football you have to protect the main people, the players.”

But Blatter told the BBC: “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 said a delegation from Qatar had visited FIFA headquarters in Zurich.

The president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Mohamed Bin Hammam, last month dismissed calls for the 2022 World Cup to be played in winter or be co-hosted by several Gulf countries.

“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,” Blatter said.

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