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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Qatar reject winter World Cup in 2022 as rift with Sepp Blatter and Fifa casts further doubt over tournament

Mohammed Bin Hammam, the Qatari president of the AFC, has dismissed Sepp Blatter’s suggestion that the 2022 World Cup be played in the winter as a rift within Fifa casts further doubt over the decision to award the tournament to the tiny Gulf state.

Sepp Blatter's rift with Mohammed Bin Hammam casts doubt over Fifa's decision to give Qatar 2022 World Cup
All smiles: but Sepp Blatter's rift with Mohammed Bin Hammam undermines both Fifa and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar Photo: AP
Bin Hammam, a member of Fifa’s executive committee, also emphatically rejected Uefa president Michel Platini’s notion of spreading the matches around other Middle Eastern states as public differences within Fifa undermine the world governing body, and Blatter’s leadership of it.
Blatter is due to stand for a fifth term as president in April, with Bin Hammam one of his likely and most dangerous challengers.
Doubts were immediately raised over the wisdom of handing Qatar the hosting rights, due in part to the desert state regularly experiencing temperatures of 50 degrees Celsius in the summer months.
Blatter stood accused of steering policy on the hoof when he said in an interview with CNN that the chances of the tournament being moved to January, in the middle of Europe’s major leagues’ seasons, was “definitely over 50 per cent.”
Platini further angered the Qatari organisers, who are now responsible for any changes to the delivery of the competition, when he put forward the idea of Qatar sharing hosting rights with countries such as Bahrain and UAE, citing the 1998 World Cup in France as evidence of there being room for change in the run up to the finals.