FIFA Forced To Clarify Comments From Blatter Over Qatar World Cup
FIFA has been "forced to clarify" that the World Cup will be staged in Qatar in '22 as planned after its president was quoted suggesting the vote could be re-run, according to Simon Rice of the London INDEPENDENT. The decision to stage the tournament in Qatar has been "heavily criticised" due to the heat that will affect the tournament if it is staged as planned in June and July. Almost as soon as the decision to hand Qatar the tournament was made, it was mooted that the tournament could be moved to the winter -- a change that would have "huge repercussions for all of football." Yet FIFA President Sepp Blatter was quoted suggesting that such change would "affect the basic conditions of the World Cup" and could lead to the voting process to to be revisited if one of the other '22 candidates objected. However, FIFA has disputed the content of the interview and said that Blatter was referring to a "hypothetical scenario" as the dates of the event will be decided by the tournament's organizing committee. A FIFA statement read: "Nothing has changed to what we have said previously. As it stands today, the 2022 FIFA World Cup is planned to be staged in Qatar in June/July 2022. Any potential change would have to be first requested by the competition organisers, ie. Qatar, and then presented to the Fifa Executive Committee for analysis" (INDEPENDENT, 3/21).