UEFA president Michel Platini has said he is hopeful that the World Cup in 2022 will be held in early winter, believing that this would be the best solution for all involved.
Debate has long been held over whether or not the tournament in Qatar should be moved to the latter part of the year to avoid the intense heat of the summer months in the Middle East.
Platini has maintained his stance that a winter competition would be for the benefit of fans and players alike, and has insisted that calling a temporary hiatus in the European domestic season would not be a problem.
The 57-year-old told the London Evening Standard: “I hope it will be held in winter. We have to go to Qatar when it is good for everybody to participate. What is better for the fans?
Platini added, “Did you see in South Africa? It was freezing and nobody could go anywhere to a fan club or anything. You had to stay in the hotel.
“In 10 years we can manage to decide how we can postpone the season for one month. January is difficult for the World Cup because you have the Winter Olympic Games. If we stop [the European season] from November 2 to December 20, it means, instead of finishing in May, we stop in June. It is not a big problem. It is for the good of the World Cup, the most important competition in the world.”
There had been mutterings within football's governing bodies that the votes for the host nations of the up-coming tournaments would have to be retaken, given the corruption scandals which have blighted FIFA in recent months.
However, Platini insists that such a measure would be difficult to implement, and that his vote would remain unchanged regardless.
“To revoke World Cup decisions will be difficult. And, if there is another vote, I will vote the same way: for Russia and Qatar," he said. “I voted for Qatar because it was time to go to a country in that part of the world. They bid five times.”
When asked whether he voted under the instruction of then-France president Nicolas Sarkozy, he said: “No, no, no.
“I tell you one thing immediately. One day I was invited to dinner by Sarkozy where there was the Prime Minister of Qatar. Mr Sarkozy never asked me during the dinner to vote for Qatar. They invited me to the dinner but they know I will be independent, that I will vote for who I want.”
Platini did, however, state that he told the Emir of Qatar that his vote depended on a promise that the tournament would be held in winter - a promise on which the nation's representative has now seemingly reneged.
“Before the vote, I told him, ‘I’ll vote for Qatar but I want the World Cup in winter’. He wanted my vote and said, ‘Of course, yes.’ Now he has changed,” he said.
Follow GOAL.COM USA on