Asian football chief rules out winter World Cup in Qatar
Mohamed Bin Hammam "unimpressed" by suggestions of moving the 2022 tournament to winter
Asian football chief Mohamed Bin Hammam has ruled out moving the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to winter or staging tournament matches around the Gulf region.
Bin Hammam says he was “unimpressed” by suggestions from Fifa president Sepp Blatter that the tournament could be moved to winter to avoid searing summer temperatures in Qatar.
He also criticised Michel Platini after the Uefa president said the tournament could take place as a “Gulf World Cup”, with matches played in several countries surrounding Qatar.
“I believe Qatar can stand alone and organise the competition by itself,” said the Asian Football Confederation president.
“And I’m really not very impressed by these opinions to distribute the game over the Gulf or change the time from July to January – it’s actually premature, you know, it’s people’s opinions and they’re just discussing it on no basis or no ground.”
Bin Hammam added: “It’s not up to one, two or three members of Fifa to talk about changing the time without getting the real stakeholders’ opinions.”
Plans to reschedule the tournament have also come under fire from England’s Fifa executive committee member Geoff Thompson who described suggestions of moving the 2022 tournament as “disappointing” and said it should only be considered if there is clear medical evidence which proved players and fans would be at risk.
“This should be a proper discussion and it is disappointing to me that people are talking about moving the tournament when Qatar bid to stage it at a certain time,” said Thompson.
“It was never discussed at any (executive committee) meeting. At the end of the day, people are bidding for the World Cup at the appropriate time. The bidding document is clear about when it should be.”
Thompson added: “We may believe that there is a risk but until we are presented with a medical report which shows clearly that people’s health is at risk, until we get something concrete, then we shouldn’t move it.”