Sepp Blatter forced into embarrassing climb down.
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Fifa president Sepp Blatter has given the strongest indication yet that the 2022 Qatar World Cup will be held in the summer, not the winter.
Blatter previously stated he expected the finals to be staged in January because of the country’s climate.
The tournament traditionally takes place in June and July but temperatures in Qatar in those months can top 40C.
Blatter told the BBC: “I think for the time being the matter is on ice. Everything is settled for summer.”
Everything is settled now for summer and all the 64 matches will be played in the territory of Qatar
Fifa president Sepp Blatter
In January, Blatter said that the successful Qatari bid was based on a summer World Cup but the Fifa executive committee was entitled to change any element of it, adding that players had to be protected from extreme weather conditions.
But Blatter told BBC Sport’s Brian Alexander: “Who said first that we should play in winter? It was Franz Beckenbauer, second Michel Platini and the world footballers’ union (Fifpro).
“I am not in favour of one or the other. What I did say, winter is not only January or February. I think for the time being the matter is on ice.”
He explained that a delegation from Qatar had visited Fifa headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, and indicated that the World Cup would be played in the summer months.
“Everything is settled now for summer and all the 64 matches will be played in the territory of Qatar,” said Blatter.
He added: “In the bidding documents it was clearly established that the executive committee reserved the right to change anything in the bidding process, but here in this case it must come from Qatar.” (BBC Sport)
One would like to think that FIFA arrived at this decision after realising the error of their ways but in all likelihood they probably have bowed to extreme pressure not just from the international footballing community but also from the organizers of the Qatar World Cup themselves who have repeatedly stated their intentions to stick to their original time table for the 2022 event.
It is also yet another damning indictment of the FIFA president himself who is under threat of losing his seat to Qatar footballing chief Mohamed bin Hammam who had ridiculed plans to move the show piece tournament. Now we don’t know much about the President of the Asian Football Confederation but quite frankly if the choices available for a new FIFA head were between Sepp Blatter and a boiled egg then the boiled egg would win by a landslide if it was up to any genuine football supporter and not just the FIFA executive committee members who have grown fat off the corrupted regime.