UEFA president Michel Platini has stated that European football must be prepared to accommodate the 2022 FIFA World Cup being shifted to the winter months to benefit fan experience at Qatar’s tournament.
Platini has previously openly admitted that he voted for Qatar to stage the World Cup and has been a vocal supporter of gathering calls for the tournament to be switched from its traditional summer schedule due to the oppressive heat in the Middle Eastern country. Critics, most notably the English Premier League, have pointed to the logistical challenges of such a switch for the European game, but Platini believes it can be accommodated.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter told the Associated Press on Sunday that such a move is likely to be endorsed at an Executive Committee meeting on October 3-4 in Zurich, Switzerland. Platini told Sky Sports News: “If it’s in December or November it could be a problem, if it’s in January it will not be a problem. It will be very specific for one year – instead of finishing (the season) in May, we finish in June. I’ve already looked at that and for me there is no problem. FIFA will decide and organise it, but perhaps the European leagues will make a proposal to FIFA.”
Concerning the impact of a summer World Cup in Qatar on the tournament experience, Platini added: “If you think that the World Cup is the best tournament in the world – in all sports – you play in the season that is best for the fans and players. I was in South Africa (in 2010), and at five o’clock I was in the hotel because it was freezing. It was not nice, because there was no atmosphere, there was no big festival in the cities because it was too cold. If we go to Qatar and it is 55 degrees, it’s not possible for the fans to come, but if it’s in winter I think it will be very nice. And we have to adapt to that for the World Cup – the best event in football. The World Cup brings the people to look at this wonderful thing. That’s why I support the fact we have to play when the season is best.”