Bin Hammam rubbishes winter idea

AFC president Mohamed Bin Hammam claims Qatar can "stand alone" in hosting the World Cup and has ruled out moving the tournament to the winter.

A suggestion of spreading matches around the Persian Gulf for the 2022 tournament came from UEFA president Michel Platini, but Asian football confederation Bin Hammam is not interested.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has also said that the tournament should be moved to the winter in order to combat the sweltering temperatures, however, Bin Hammam has dismissed this idea.

"I believe Qatar can stand alone and organise the competition by itself," Bin Hammam told Sky Sports News.

He added: "And I’m really not very impressed by these opinions to distribute the game over the Gulf or change the time from July to January – it’s actually premature, you know, it’s people’s opinions and they’re just discussing it on no basis or no ground."

If the World Cup was moved to the winter it would have a huge impact upon European domestic leagues and it is likely that a two-month mid-season break would be required.

Bin Hammam appears to understand this situation, as he said: "It’s not up to one, two or three members of FIFA to talk about changing the time without getting the real stakeholders’ opinions.

"I know that football in Europe has quite a history, it is quite a business involving a lot of financial, media, marketing – a lot of things.

"It is unfair to these people that we talk about changing the calendar or the time without their full consultation and their full approval and their full agreement – I’m actually not happy to see that happening without the real stakeholders’ part of this discussion."

The disagreements over the Qatar World Cup have added to speculation that Bin Hammam will challenge Blatter for Fifa’s leadership at this year’s election.

Asked if he was planning to run against Blatter, Bin Hammam replied: "No comment.