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UEFA chief backs winter World Cup in Qatar

ESPN staff
June 7, 2013
Qatar officials are preparing to spend £65m on air-conditioned stadiums for the World Cup © PA Photos

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino says he remains open to the idea of a winter World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

In an interview with The Times, Infantino is the latest to voice his approval for the idea, claiming all tournaments should be played in the most suitable weather in the host country. FIFA president Sepp Blatter and UEFA boss Michel Platini have also backed the move.

Qatar, meanwhile, are preparing to spend £65 billion on air-conditioned stadiums and other facilities, but Infantino believes there is a more sensible approach.

"Whenever you play the World Cup should be the best period for it," he said. "I had the same reflections on South Africa in 2010.

"Four years earlier in Germany it was nice sunshine. South Africa is a beautiful country, but at five o'clock, it's night and it's zero degrees [Celsius]. It's not a celebration of football."

Infantino went on to say that he did not understand why football had been historically played in winter.

"You see people in stadiums with hats and scarves," he said. "Why did England, who brought to us this beautiful game, decide that football is for the winter and not for the summer?

"The month of June, which is the most beautiful month to play football, is hardly ever used except for the Euros and the World Cup. But the World Cup is played only every 12 years, more of less, in Europe.

"I fully share this view that you have to play in the best period for football; that is not June or July in Qatar. This is an issue that FIFA has to sort out. The sooner they do it, the better. The decision for 2022 was taken in 2010, so in 12 years you can organise yourself."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.