Sepp Blatter opts for November-December World Cup

FIFA President Sepp Blatter says the 2022 World Cup in Qatar should be played in autumn rather than moved forward to the winter months.

Blatter, in UAE for the final of the Under-17 World Cup, said FIFA officials and others “are starting now the consultations” on whether to move the World Cup from its traditional June-July slot to avoid summer heat in the Gulf.

“And when I say winter, I mean it can only be November and December,” he told reporters in Abu Dhabi on Friday before the final of the Under-17 World Cup. “It can no way be January or February.”

An IOC member, Blatter opposes the first two months of the year because it would clash with the 2022 Winter Olympics.

An April-May option has been proposed by Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, chairman of the European Club Association, which will be one of the bodies consulted by FIFA. When Qatar hosted the 1995 FIFA World Youth Championship for players under 20, the tournament was held in April.

UEFA president Michel Platini favours the tournament being held in January, so as to avoid a clash with the Champions League.

Organizers in Qatar claim their plans for air-conditioned stadiums and other cooling measures could allow them to stage the finals in the traditional summer months.

Not content with telling the world when the 2022 finals will be held, Blatter also suggested that the tournament could be staged across the entire gulf, after revealing several countries had offered to co-host the tournament with Qatar.

“I have just passed through Iran and, even on a political level, people told me they would be happy to host some of the matches.

“So not even in the Gulf state but in the Middle East in general people care about this. The UAE would also be very eager but let’s go step by step.

“The first step is to see how it can be played in November-December and this shall be until the next World Cup: we have six, nine, months’ time to do so.”

It is unclear how Qatar will react to the latest outpourings from the FIFA president, but one can assume that they won’t be best pleased to be told that the tournament they won the right is to stage, is once again up for grabs.