FIFA to blame for Qatar 2022 World Cup 'mess'

As the debate surrounding the 2022 Qatar World Cup rages on, British Sports Minister Hugh Robertson has laid the blame at the feet of FIFA after describing the possible move from a summer to winter tournament a "mess."

Since Qatar were awarded the honour of hosting the World Cup, there have been ongoing concerns about how the Gulf nation would host a summer tournament during a time of year when temperatures reach in excess of 50°C.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has consistently championed the idea of a winter World Cup, although he has also admitted that handing the tournament to Qatar may have been a "mistake."

UEFA and their boss Michel Platini supports the stance of Blatter, but the heads of Europe's top domestic leagues are not as open to the idea, chief among them the Premier League's Richard Scudamore, who has called for the World Cup to be moved to another country.

And in comments to the Press Association, Robertson believes that while a winter event is the only viable option, it is a far from ideal situation, blaming FIFA for creating such a messy situation.

"I don't think anybody in the world of football thinks a World Cup in Qatar in the summer is a sensible or deliverable option," Robertson said. "To that extent, this is a mess of FIFA's own making.

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"I don't blame the Qataris at all - they wanted the World Cup and every country is entitled to have that ambition and they entered the bidding competition in the way suggested by FIFA. I entirely blame FIFA."

Qatar was awarded the right to host the 2022 tournament in 2010, but FIFA, UEFA and footballers' union FIFPro have since called for it to be moved to a different time of year.

However, proposals to change the date of the tournament have met with opposition from leading European clubs, who are concerned about disruption to their traditional calendars.

"I also don't see that moving this (to winter) should be allowed to disrupt the years either side of the event," added Robertson, who was part of the delegation for England's failed bid for the 2018 World Cup in 2010.

The minister also called for FIFA to compensate those other countries who bid for 2022. "FIFA has to remember there are a series of other countries who bid for that 2022 World Cup in good faith and are now going to find the goal-posts have moved," he said.

"If it's held in the winter that's absolutely sensible but to have a re-pitch would be quite unfair on the Qataris.

"I think a deal should be done where the fact the Qataris won it fair and square is acknowledged but other nations who bid for 2022 are compensated in some shape or form, either financially or by hosting other FIFA tournaments."

 

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