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Blatter backs plans for winter World Cup

Fri 17th Dec 2010 | FIFA

The prospect of a winter World Cup looks increasingly likely after FIFA president Sepp Blatter backed plans to stage the 2022 World Cup in Qatar during the winter to avoid the heat problems.

The move to holding that World Cup in January, first suggested by Germany's FIFA member Franz Beckenbauer last week, is gathering momentum with Blatter and FIFA's general secretary Jerome Valcke both now behind the idea.

However the plans would have major implications for domestic competitions in Britain and the rest of Europe.

Blatter told a news conference in Abu Dhabi, where the Club World Cup is being staged: "I definitely support (the idea) to play in winter here.

"[It is important] to play when the climate is appropriate and I'm thinking about the footballers, not only the fans but the actors."

Qatar have not requested a change to the timing of the tournament from the usual June/July and had planned to air-condition all stadiums and training pitches to combat the heat, which reaches 50 degrees C in summer months.

Valcke said on Thursday that allowing the World Cup to move dates would open up the tournament to be staged by all nations.

He said: "It means you open the World Cup to countries where they can never play it in June and July because it's never the right period of time.

"If you can do so, it would be a solution to open the organisation of the World Cup to a number of countries in this period which is winter in Europe but not winter in the rest of the world."

 

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