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FIFA to blame over Qatar World Cup 'mess' - British minister

30 September 2013, 17:55

London - The possible move of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from the summer to winter was a "mess" of FIFA's own making, British Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said Monday.

In comments to Britain's Press Association, Robertson added that he saw no other option than moving the tournament to the winter to escape the stifling heat of Qatar in the summer.

"I don't think anybody in the world of football thinks a World Cup in Qatar in the summer is a sensible or deliverable option," Robertson told PA.

"To that extent, this is a mess of FIFA's own making.

"I don't blame the Qataris at all - they wanted the World Cup and every country is entitled to have that ambition and they entered the bidding competition in the way suggested by FIFA. I entirely blame FIFA."

Qatar was awarded the right to host the 2022 tournament in 2010, but FIFA, UEFA and footballers' union FIFPro have since called for it to be moved to a different time of year.

However, proposals to change the date of the tournament have met with opposition from leading European clubs, who are concerned about disruption to their traditional calendars.

"I also don't see that moving this (to winter) should be allowed to disrupt the years either side of the event," said Robertson, who was part of the delegation for England's failed bid for the 2018 World Cup in 2010.

The minister also called for FIFA to compensate those other countries who bid for 2022.

"FIFA has to remember there are a series of other countries who bid for that 2022 World Cup in good faith and are now going to find the goal-posts have moved," he said.

"If it's held in the winter that's absolutely sensible but to have a re-pitch would be quite unfair on the Qataris.

"I think a deal should be done where the fact the Qataris won it fair and square is acknowledged but other nations who bid for 2022 are compensated in some shape or form, either financially or by hosting other FIFA tournaments."



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