Report: FIFA boss Sepp Blatter will request moving Qatar's' 2022 World Cup to winter
It's been mulled and mooted for months, and on Wednesday Sepp Blatter went on record: the FIFA president will ask his organization's powerful Executive Committee to move the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to the winter months.
"The World Cup in Qatar can only take place in the winter," he told Sky Sport Germany after a recent trip to the Middle East. "And the executive committee is sure to follow me. In this heat, you cannot play in the summer. And we have to consider the players.
“I was just in the Middle East, in Jordan, Palestine and Israel. I have felt the heat in these countries and it's not as hot there as it is in Qatar. It's possible to air-condition a stadium, but not an entire country.”
Blatter's idea will be welcomed by many who have lambasted the idea of playing the sport's premier event in the midst of the Persian Gulf region's scorching desert temperatures. But it is also likely to trigger a scathing response from European club officials unhappy with the likely disruption to their normal fall-to-spring schedule that a World Cup switch would cause.
Some have even suggested that a seasonal rescheduling will bring Qatar's hosting rights into question, with the entire bidding process – where the likes of the United States and Australia competed unsuccessfully – having been based on a June-July timeframe for the event.
But Blatter sounds fully prepared to lend his considerable weight to this unprecedented move.
“There is still enough time. I will bring this up to the executive committee,” he said. “If this World Cup is to become a party for the people, you can’t play football in the summer.”
"Where there's a will, there's a way."