Europe would accommodate winter World Cup - Platini

05 Dec 2011

UEFA president Michel Platini has stated he would be prepared to alter the European club schedule in a bid to accommodate a winter FIFA World Cup in 2022.

Speaking on Friday, as Qatar marked the anniversary of its contentious success in landing the tournament, Platini added that he voted for the bid and said matches played in the searing heat of a Middle Eastern summer would be unfair on both players and spectators. “We have to think about everybody, what would be better for the World Cup in Qatar,” the FIFA executive committee member told Al-Jazeera. “How you can bring the people and say you will go in June (to) Qatar when it’s 50 degrees? The people, they come (for) three weeks or two weeks with 60 degrees, they (would) never go outside the hotel. It (is) not correct.”

Any move towards a winter World Cup would necessitate the overhaul of UEFA’s club calendar, along with the schedules of European leagues, and is likely to provoke substantial opposition. However Platini added: “I think we have to adapt (to) when the best moment is and where is the best moment to play this World Cup in Qatar.”

Platini’s comments come after Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee general secretary Hassan al-Thawadi last month stated organisers remain open to staging a winter World Cup, but added efforts are focused on the 2022 tournament taking place in its traditional summer slot. The UEFA president, who is widely expected to bid to succeed Sepp Blatter as FIFA president in 2015, stated he voted for Qatar to take the World Cup to a new market. “For me, I voted for Qatar because I think it (is) nice to go to another part of the world, with people who never received the World Cup,” said Platini. “They lost five times with Morocco, with Egypt. And I think it was nice to come to Russia in Europe (in 2018). They’ve never received (the World Cup) in the east of Europe.”