Bin Hammam rules out World Cup date change

Asian football chief Mohamed Bin Hammam on Friday ruled out shifting the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to winter or staging tournament matches around the Gulf region.

Last Updated: Jan 14, 2011, 14:43 PM IST

London: Asian football chief Mohamed Bin Hammam on Friday ruled out shifting the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to
winter or staging tournament matches around the Gulf region.

Bin Hammam told Sky News in an interview that he was
"unimpressed" by suggestions from FIFA President Sepp Blatter
that the tournament could be moved to a winter time slot.

He also took aim at remarks by UEFA President Michel
Platini earlier this week that the 2022 tournament could be a
"Gulf World Cup", with matches taking place in several
countries surrounding Qatar.

"I believe Qatar can stand alone and organise the
competition by itself," Asian Football Confederation President
Bin Hammam said.

"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," the Qatari official added.

English football clubs have said switching the World Cup
to January or February would be a logistical nightmare that
would need at least a two-month mid-season break to the
Premier League.

Bin Hammam appeared to sympathise with European leagues
likely to be affected by a date change as he continued his
criticism of Blatter`s remarks.

"It`s not up to one, two or three members of Fifa to talk
about changing the time without getting the real stakeholders`
opinions," Bin Hammam added.

"I know that football in Europe has quite a history, it
is quite a business involving a lot of financial, media,
marketing - a lot of things," he said

"It is unfair to these people that we talk about changing
the calendar or the time without their full consultation and
their full approval and their full agreement - I`m actually
not happy to see that happening without the real stakeholders`
part of this discussion."

FIFA has said world football`s governing body would need
to receive an official request from the Qatar FA before any
change of the 2022 tournament dates could be formally
discussed.

Bin Hammam said no request would be forthcoming.

"We are not interested - we are very happy and we are
promising the world that we are going to organise an amazing
world cup in June and July," he said.

Bureau Report