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Thursday, January 20, 2011

FIFA denies winter plans

January 20, 2011

FIFA has announced that there are no plans to move the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to winter to alleviate concerns over the country's climate.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Thani, Sepp Blatter
GettyImagesQatar FA president Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Thani would have to request a World Cup move

As temperatures can reach 50 degrees Celsius in the summer in Qatar, there had been strong indications that FIFA was ready to move the tournament.
President Sepp Blatter said in December he would "definitely support" the idea of moving the tournament and earlier this month added: "I expect it will be held in the winter". FIFA vice-president Michel Platini also said moving the tournament to January "would be easier than to play in June".
However, AFC chief Mohamed bin Hammam, who led the successful Qatar bid, has since said it was "never our interest" to move the tournament and it now appears the tournament will go ahead in June and July as originally intended.
A FIFA statement read: "Any potential move of the 2022 FIFA World Cup from a summer to a winter period would have to be initiated by the football association of Qatar and would have to be presented to the FIFA executive committee."
Bin Hammam had also rejected the idea the World Cup would be co-hosted with other Gulf states.