Blatter admits Qatar mistake but confirms winter World Cup

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has admitted that awarding the right to host the World Cup in 2022 to Qatar may have been a mistake, the Guardian has reported, but rather than switch the tournament to a new host, Blatter has confirmed the event will be moved from summer to winter due to the heat in the region in the middle of the year.

Blatter had originally defended the Qataris’ right to host the World Cup in the summer, when the Guardian claims temperatures can touch 50c, to calling for the FIFA executive board to vote on the proposal to hold the World Cup in the winter. The board is due to meet at the beginning of October.

The president told Inside World Football that hosting the World Cup in winter is an important step in maintaining football’s place as a world game, insisting that the World Cup would have to be played in the cooler months to ensure non-European countries can stage the competition. “If we maintain, rigidly, the status quo, then a FIFA World Cup can never be played in countries that are south of the equator or indeed near the equator,” he said.

We automatically discriminate against countries that have different seasons than we do in Europe. I think it is high time that Europe starts to understand that we do not rule the world any more, and that some former European imperial powers can no longer impress their will on to others in faraway places.

The European Clubs Association, a group of 207 of the continent’s biggest clubs, is due to meet on Tuesday to discuss the staging of the World Cup, but the organisation’s senior vice president, Milan director Umberto Gandini, has already said he feels it is inevitable the World Cup will be moved to winter in 2022 on a one-off basis. The clubs are liable to accept the switch on the proviso that it is a one-off, due to the disruption caused by playing the World Cup in the middle of the European season.

The Premier League has staunchly opposed playing the World Cup in 2022 but the new chairman of the Football Association, Greg Dyke, believes the World Cup will be moved to the winter.

The World Cup would likely be played at the end of the year, in November and December 2022, to avoid clashing with the Winter Olympics, due to take place in January and February of the same year.

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