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Tuesday 21 August 2018

Wenger leads Blatter backlash over Qatar call

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has blasted the proposal to change to a winter World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said he "expects" the 2022 World Cup to be in January rather than June when the heat is close to intolerable.

But Wenger said: "It looks like an idea that has come out of nowhere because nobody was told that when the bid was voted for.

"That is a bit of a surprise and certainly it would mean that the whole world of football has to be reorganised.

"As you know we have a Christmas period which is quite busy here and England would be very happy to play the World Cup in January just after that.

"It would demand a complete reorganisation of the whole world's fixtures and I cannot see that happening.

"Certainly it would create many problems, yes, between clubs and countries and countries and FIFA."

Blatter was speaking in Doha ahead of the opening match of the Asian Cup.

He said: "I expect it will be held in the winter. We have time to look at this question, it is still 11 years away but we must decide the most adequate period for a successful World Cup which means January or the end of the year.

"When you play football you must protect the main people, the players."

Summer temperatures in Qatar can soar to over 50 degrees Celsius while those in the winter months are far more comfortable.



Resentment

Blatter also said he believes "resentment" of Britain's special privileges on FIFA may have harmed England's failed 2018 World Cup bid.

Britain have their own FIFA vice-president and the home nations have individual status in the organisation. For historic reasons, the four home associations also represent half of the International FA Board (IFAB), the game's law-making body, with FIFA making up the half.

Blatter said: "There must be inside FIFA some reticence to England, perhaps these four associations. Maybe some resentment because of the privileges.

"If you have all these privileges you must handle these in a very intelligent way."

Blatter also suggested that the BBC Panorama investigation into FIFA members, screened three days before the vote, may also have had an effect.

He added: "Maybe the last-minute press and television about matters that have already been dealt with could have played a part."

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