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SBD Global/December 31, 2012/International Football

Platini Holds Strong Stance For 2022 Winter World Cup, End Of Third-Party Ownership

UEFA President Michel Platini "renewed his call" for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to be moved to the winter to avoid the crushing heat of a Gulf summer and shared with neighboring countries, according to the AFP. He told the Dubai Int'l Sports Conference a winter tournament would be "good for everyone," including organizers, spectators and the media. Qatar has undergone a project to air-condition all of the stadiums for '22, but "there has been criticism of the cost and environmental impact, as well as the outdoor temperatures facing traveling fans." Platini warned that it could reach 55 degrees Celsius (AFP, 12/28).

ANOTHER STRONG OPINION: Meanwhile, the AP reported Platini "wants to end the third-party ownership of players' transfer rights," but his proposal is being "fiercely opposed by agents who contend it would be a disaster for smaller clubs who depend on outside financing to secure big names." The issue "came up repeatedly" at a two-day conference in Dubai, UAE, "with several agents complaining the issue was being mischaracterised in the press and that imposing a ban -- which is already in place in France and England -- would only serve to further widen the gap between big and small clubs." Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes said, "If we do this, we put an end to football for small clubs." Mendes' clients include Colombia striker Radamel Falcao and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo. Others like European Football Agents Association Chair Rob Jansen said that he opposed third parties owning the rights to a player "but felt Platini was going too far with his calls to scrap the system altogether." Jansen said, "If you have third party ownership as long as it's in control of the club, then the club has to decide what will happen. There is nothing wrong with that... When you take everything out, you destroy Portugal, Spain, Holland, Belgium. You destroy entire competitions" (AP, 12/29).
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