Sepp Blatter denies saying FIFA made a mistake in awarding Qatar the World Cup
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has denied saying it was a mistake to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
Last Updated: 19/09/13 12:15pm
In an interview published on Monday by insideworldfootball.com, Blatter suggested that FIFA 'may well have made a mistake' when asked about awarding Qatar the event in the first place.
However, while attending an International Olympic Committee meeting in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires, Blatter said: "No, it was not a mistake because by the rotation it was time to go to the Arabic world.
"And now here we are in the Arab world. It is not a very big country, but it is a very important one. So the decision was absolutely in the context of the politics of FIFA and especially in the context of the politics of this president."
Blatter said the decision to play the tournament in the middle of the year was the mistake, not the selection of Qatar as hosts.
"I am of the opinion, and this will be discussed by the (FIFA) Executive Board, now that to play in summer time in Qatar is not the right thing to do," he said.
"We can play also in winter time and this is also a question of solidarity. If you never play in winter time the World Cup, you will be in the situation where all the countries around the equator and southern hemisphere... can never play in the winter.
"(Football) is a sport that is played not only in Europe but all around the world."
Staging the tournament in the Middle East has sparked widespread consternation because, if it is held over its traditional dates in the middle of the year, players will have to contend with 50 degrees Celsius heat.
Calls to move the World Cup to later in the year, during the European winter, have also proved unpopular as it would disrupt domestic league competitions in countries such as Spain, England, Italy, Germany and France.
The FIFA Executive Committee will vote on switching the World Cup to the cooler winter months in October, but the Association of the European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) has called for the decision into a change of timing to be postponed pending a full investigation into the effects of such a move.
The EPFL said in a statement: "The feasibility of any change to the calendar involves every aspect of football organisation across all countries, from the grass-roots to the major national representative tournaments and the leagues.
"Any suggestion of staging the World Cup at a time other than the traditional period is a crucial issue for the European Leagues considering the impact on the organisation of domestic championships throughout Europe, and of the international football calendar around the world.
"The EPFL is of the view that no hasty decision shall be made by the FIFA executive committee of October 3-4."
But Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher says the 2022 World Cup should be moved away from Qatar, rather than be played in the winter.
"It raised eyebrows when we saw that the World Cup was going there," he told Sky Sports News.
"Is it a 'mistake'? Is that being disrespectful to Qatar? I don't think it's ideal to be playing a World Cup in those conditions.
"So now people are talking about a winter World Cup, but how does that affect the Champions League, the Premier League, La Liga, the Bundesliga and all of the leagues around Europe?
"For me, a World Cup is at the end of a season in the summer. If FIFA have messed up and the conditions aren't right then I think you have to look at it again and give it to somewhere else.
"You can't be messing about with all the leagues in Europe and how it's set up. It's been this way for so long.
"If they've made a mistake I think they've got to rectify it."
Jamie Carragher was speaking at a coaching session being put on by his 23 Foundation, which aims to give children in Merseyside a chance to achieve their dreams through local charities, clubs and community initiatives.