FIFA president Sepp Blatter admits that the world governing body's decision to award the 2022 summer World Cup to Qatar may have been "a mistake at the time."
The comment came during an interview with InsideWorldFootball.com published Monday, in which Blatter outlined his case for moving the 2022 World Cup to the winter months in order to avoid the extreme summer temperatures in the Middle East.
He will make his presentation to the FIFA Executive Committee in early October, hoping to get the go-ahead to formalize his proposal despite the fact that several European clubs have already come out against the change in the international soccer calendar.
Back in December 2010, Qatar beat out a bid by the USA to host the 2022 edition with weather concerns being allayed by grandiose plans for air-conditioned stadiums. But Blatter has since had a change of heart and in the InsideWorldFootball.com interview he defends his push for a 2022 winter World Cup.
"I think it is high time that Europe starts to understand that we do not rule the world anymore, and that some former European imperial powers can no longer impress their will on to others in far away places," Blatter said.
"If we automatically exclude potential hosts because of the weather, then the next step can easily be exclusion for other arbitrary and discriminatory reasons. I am not going to be party to any such thing."
Will Blatter get the support from the FIFA ExCo? One member, U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati, who spoke alongside MLS Commissioner Don Garber and AS Roma owner James Pallotta at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit on Tuesday, said there was a "small chance" that the timing of the 2022 tournament would change.
FIFA exec says there's a chance Qatar World Cup moves to winter for colder temp but doubts it will becuz of scheduling conflicts #BBsports— Liana B. Baker (@LianaBaker) September 10, 2013
Sunil Gulati "We have plans to use cooled stadiums for 2022 World Cup in Qatar, small chance timing of tournament gets moved" #BBsports— BloombergLINK (@BBGLINK) September 10, 2013
All three panelists agree that the 2022 World Cup would be too difficult to move to the winter due to scheduling issues #bbsports— BSports Football (@BSportsFootball) September 10, 2013