Platini cautious over World Cup move

UEFA boss says debate to switch Qatar 2022 World Cup to winter is 'complicated' despite unanimous European approval.

    Platini cautious over World Cup move
    The 54 UEFA member associations gave unanimous approval to switch the tournament over fears of the Qatar heat [Getty]

    Taking a cautious approach to the 2022 World Cup debate, UEFA President Michel Platini said Friday his member countries have not fully committed to moving the tournament in Qatar to winter.

    Platini said "probably no decision will be taken'' on October 3-4, when FIFA President Sepp Blatter has said his executive committee should decide "in principle'' that the tournament cannot be played in the Qatari summer.

    "In terms of the specifics, we don't know what's going to happen,'' Platini said of the FIFA meeting which has become the focus of intense speculation.

    Unanimous approval

    Platini got unanimous approval for a switch from summer from his 54 member associations this week at a European football meeting.

    "We haven't said that we agreed fully,'' Platini said at a briefing to close the four-day gathering.

    "What will happen, that's more complicated and it's hard to discuss.''

    Platini, who opted for Qatar in the December 2010 vote, favours playing in winter and prefers a January slot.

    Still, he acknowledged Friday that "maybe it won't be possible down the line'' to change from summer.

    Opinion in Europe is divided with Platini having to weigh opposition from the influential European clubs, leagues and players' unions who refused Thursday to agree any changes in Qatar's World Cup hosting plan before being included in detailed consultation with FIFA.

    "It's a complicated discussion, let's let Mr. Blatter carry out that discussion,'' said Platini, insisting that the whole issue was "FIFA's problem.''

    Platini appeared to show some frustration with Blatter, who this week repeated an old claim that his former protégé was influenced by French political and trade interests to support Qatar, which defeated the United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea to secure the 2022 tournament.

    "With the extraordinary experience Mr. Blatter has, he has only all of a sudden realised 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.''

    SOURCE: AP


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