FIFA and UEFA presidents get treatment they deserve.
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Asian football chief Mohamed Bin Hammam has ruled out moving the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from summer to winter or sharing matches around the Gulf region.
Fifa has said a request from the Qatar Football Association is needed for date changes to be discussed, which Bin Hammam has insisted will not happen.
He also dismissed any chance of a “Gulf World Cup”, as suggested by the Uefa president Michel Platini this week.
“We’re not interested. Qatar can stand alone and organise by itself,” he said.
“We are very happy and we are promising the world that we are going to organise an amazing World Cup in June and July,” the Asian Football Confederation president, who is from Qatar, added.
Frenchman Platini – who is on the Fifa committee – said the 2022 World Cup should be shared around other Gulf countries because of Qatar’s relatively small size, while Fifa president Sepp Blatter has expressed a desire to switch it to winter because of summer temperatures that can hit 50C.
But Bin Hammam, who has been tipped as a successor to Blatter, said both were wrong to suggest potential changes so openly.
“I’m really not very impressed by these opinions to distribute the game over the Gulf or change the time from July to January,” he said.
“It’s actually premature. It’s people’s opinions and they’re just discussing it on no basis or no ground.
“It’s not up to one, two or three members of Fifa to talk about changing the time without getting the real stakeholders’ opinions.
“I know that football in Europe has quite a history, it is quite a business involving a lot of financial, media, marketing – a lot of things.
“It is unfair to these people that we talk about changing the calendar or the time without their full consultation and their full approval and their full agreement – I’m actually not happy to see that happening without the real stakeholders’ part of this discussion.”
On Thursday, Iran’s coach, Afshin Ghotbi, said it would be better to re-open the contest than to allow other Gulf nations to co-host with Qatar.
“I think if they are now talking about sharing it with other countries, I think it is very unfair to the United States, to Australia, all the other countries that were bidding at the same time,” he suggested.
“My feeling is if they want to take a decision on that then they should go back to the bidding countries and ask them to bid again.
“Qatar has shown it can host it, so it should be here and it should be in the winter time – that is a logical change, but it is not fair to talk about changing the venues at this stage.” (BBC Sport)
It is honestly so good to hear some within the footballing community talk such sense and even better that it makes FIFA and UEFA heads look like fools in the process. Everything that Asian football chief Mohamed Bin Hammam says is spot on. He is right to point out that comments made by Platini and Blatter are both premature and self serving.
The Iranian national team coach is also totally correct to state that any change to 2022 plans would make a further mockery out of the bidding process, moving goalposts after the fact would clearly be unfair on those unsuccessful bids.
The fact that Bin Hammam has come out so strongly on these issues may well be an unsubtle attempt to exert his opinions and challenge the authority of FIFA president Blatter but it matters not a jot when those comments are so clearly bang on the money, if in doing so he makes a name for himself, then so be it.
Ever since the decision was taken to hand Qatar the 2022 World Cup the incessant drip feeding by various officials telling all and sundry that a Winter World Cup was a foregone conclusion has been nothing short of scandalous and it is good to see someone in authority speaking out about it.
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