AFC president dismisses winter World Cup claims

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Football News

Asian Football Confederation president Mohammed Bin Hammam has ruled out holding the 2022 FIFA World Cup in winter, as well as dismissing the notion of it being shared among other Gulf nations.

FIFA boss Sepp Blatter last week said he "expected" the tournament could be moved to winter in order to avoid the prospect of playing in the sweltering Doha heat during June and July.

That revelation was met with much criticism by Barclays Premier League bosses, who argued it would prove impractical and cause widespread disruption to numerous domestic leagues across the world.

UEFA president Michel Platini added fuel to the fire by suggesting the 2022 World Cup should be played across the whole of the Arabian Gulf in response to suggestions that Qatar is too small to host 32 teams.

But Bin Hammam told Sky News that he is "not interested" in the World Cup being played in the winter and ruled out exploring the option of Qatar co-hosting the tournament with its neighbours.

"It is not up to one, two or three members of FIFA to talk about changing the time without getting the real stakeholders' opinions," he said. "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.

"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.

"We are not interested (in moving the World Cup) - we are very happy and we are promising the world that we are going to organise an amazing World Cup in June and July."

In response to Platini's comment, Bin Hammam added: "I believe Qatar can stand alone and organise the competition by itself.

"I'm really not very impressed by these opinions to distribute the games 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."

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