FIFA play down re-run talk
FIFA have moved to clarify an interview with Sepp Blatter in which the organisation's president suggested the vote to stage the 2022 World Cup could be re-run.
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There has been speculation the tournament in nine years' time could be switched from summer to winter due to the oppressive heat in the Middle East at that time of year.
Spanish newspaper AS claim in an interview that Blatter admitted that would "affect the basic conditions of the World Cup" and could prompt the voting process to be re-visited if one of the other 2022 candidates objected.
However, world governing body FIFA dispute the content of the interview and say Blatter said it was a "hypothetical scenario" as the dates of the World Cup will be decided on by the tournament organising committee.
A FIFA statement read: "FIFA would like to remind as communicated previously that in fact the bidding agreement clearly stipulates that the final decision on the format and dates for both competitions (FIFA Confederations Cup 2021 and FIFA World Cup 2022) is vested with the FIFA Organising Committee which may hear recommendations from the LOC (local organising committee).
"Therefore, nothing has changed to what we have said previously.
"As it stands today, the 2022 FIFA World Cup is planned to be staged in Qatar in June/July 2022.
"Any potential change would have to be first requested by the competition organisers, ie. Qatar, and then presented to the FIFA Executive Committee for analysis."
Qatar was a controversial choice and, in the same interview, Blatter admitted FIFA's executive committee must accept the criticism which has come their way.
He added: "There are always question marks over Qatar because the Executive Committee chose the country democratically despite the existence of FIFA technical reports clearly, very clearly, warning of the difficulties of the tournament being played there, for two reasons: the climate and the size of the country.
"Firstly, the temperatures are very high, and secondly the country is small for a World Cup host.
"So, the Executive Committee must accept the criticism it is now receiving for its decision."
Blatter also took aim at UEFA president Michel Platini, who this week revealed how he had voted in the bidding process for 2018 and 2022.
The Swiss is reported to have said: "All I can say is that I don't understand why Platini made public declarations about how he voted in the selection process for World Cups 2018 and 2022.
"His vote, and that of all the members of the FIFA Executive Committee, is secret. I don't understand Platini and I told him so a few days ago in Morocco."
The English were vociferous in their disappointment at missing out to Russia in 2018 but Blatter had little sympathy, saying: "The UK parliament made accusations with no evidence. Nothing, not one piece of evidence.
"How can we hand out punishments without evidence?
"The English were very angry at not being chosen to host the World Cup in 2018. The English, the inventors of 'fair play'..."