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UEFA fence-sits over winter World Cup

UEFA President Michel Platini says his organisation has not yet fully committed to moving the 2022 World Cup to a northern hemisphere winter.

The scheduling of the 2022 tournament in Qatar has been to topic of much speculation with a bitter row over whether it should be moved to avoid the Middle Eastern country’s searing summer heat.

The 54 UEFA associations have been meeting in Croatia to discuss the issue ahead of next month’s FIFA executive meeting in Zurich where an in-principle decision is likely to be made.

While FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce claimed on Friday that European countries have given their overall backing to moving the 2022 event to Qatar’s winter months, Platini was less forthright.

“There are only two things I have clearly in mind. The first is that the president of FIFA will talk about 2022 at the next FIFA ExCo meeting,” Platini said.

“Apart from that the European national associations have unanimously stated that in principle we aren’t against playing in winter.

“We haven’t said we agree fully, we’ve said we agree in principle.

“Now, the ball is in the court of the president of FIFA.”

It is understood FIFA would prefer to hold the 2022 tournament in December to avoid a clash with the Winter Olympics but UEFA are pushing for January and February to avoid a clash with the lucrative Champions League group stages.

Platini also hit back at FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who said the UEFA boss was influenced by French political and trade interests to support Qatar’s bid.

“With the extraordinary experience Mr Blatter has, he has only all of a sudden realized there are economic and political influences when we decide who is going to host Olympic Games and so forth?” Platini said.

“It’s better late than never I guess.”

Sat 21 September, 2013
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