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SBD Global/September 23, 2013/International Football

UEFA President Michel Platini Admits Politics Played Role In Qatar's 2022 World Cup Win

UEFA President Michel Platini says politics played role in Qatar's World Cup bid.
Responding to the assertion of FIFA President Sepp Blatter that the Qatar 2022 World Cup was a "political" choice by European voters, UEFA President Michel Platini has confirmed that "political and economic influences" were a factor, according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. Blatter said in an interview this week that there was "definitely direct political influence" on European exec committee members to vote for Qatar. Blatter said, "European leaders recommended to its voting members to opt for Qatar, because of major economic interests in the country." Attention is now likely to turn to when the tournament will be held -- FIFA would prefer to hold it in December '22 to avoid the Winter Olympics but UEFA would prefer January and February "to avoid a clash with the lucrative Champions League group stages" (GUARDIAN, 9/20). WORLD FOOTBALL INSIDER reported the IOC "has issued a statement that calls for FIFA to consult before it makes a decision that could affect the 2022 Winter Olympics." Neither the host nor the dates of those games "have been determined but February is the usual time frame for the Winter Olympics" (WORLD FOOTBALL INSIDER, 9/20).

IMPACT LIMITED: The BBC reported FA Vice Chair David Gill said that "the impact of moving the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from summer to winter could be limited to one season." The summer heat in Qatar "may force a switch and the Premier League expects the shift to disrupt three seasons." But Gill "has suggested several options," including FIFA cutting the call-up period before int'l matches (BBC, 9/22).
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