Blatter: FIFA are warm to Qatar switch
FIFA president Sepp Blatter expects his executive committee to decide soon that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be switched from the searing heat of summer.
Blatter said that an October 3-4 meeting in Zurich should approve the change, and begin consultation on the best time for Qatar to host the tournament.
"I would be very much surprised, more than surprised, if the ExCo will not accept the principle you cannot play in summer in Qatar," Blatter said. "What will be following, this would be then decided later."
Blatter said consultations would involve leagues, clubs, national associations and players, through their international union FIFPro, but he set no timetable.
Qatar's suitability in June and July was questioned even before FIFA's board chose it in December 2010 in a contest with the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia
However, Qatar's World Cup organising committee has repeatedly stated its confidence in developing stadium air-cooling technology, though the committee also said it will change plans if FIFA formally requested it.
FIFA and Blatter (right) have gradually shifted their position from previously insisting that Qatar must ask for a change – a scenario interpreted as protecting FIFA against potential legal challenges.
Now, some of the same FIFA board members who helped choose Qatar – in a decisive 14-8 vote over the US – are set to change the tournament hosting plan.
"Those that have taken the decision at the time, they knew there is problems with the heat. They knew it, because it was in the (technical) report," Blatter said. "It was wrong to say, 'Now we have to play in summer,' because in summer you cannot play there.
"Therefore the ExCo now shall take the decision – and they will take it – that in summer you can't play in Qatar."
Blatter has previously suggested November as a possible start for the month-long tournament.