UEFA president Michel Platini has revealed his displeasure at Fifa chief Jerome Valcke going public with his plans for a winter World Cup in Qatar in 2022.
Valcke, Fifa’s secretary general, caused a storm when he told a French radio station the tournament would not be held in June or July due to the fierce Arabian heat. While Fifa distanced itself from his comments, insisting that Valcke was stating a personal view and no decision had yet been taken, Fifa president Sepp Blatter himself said two months ago that moves were afoot to reschedule the 2022 tournament and that it “can only be November-December and not in January-February”.
Platini criticised Valcke’s latest comments, telling French newspaper L’Equipe: “When the executive committee was held in early October, it was decided to launch a major consultation of all football, and no decision would be taken before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
“It was also agreed not to talk about this before then.
“I do not see why it is discussed publicly. Two months ago Blatter spoke about it. Now it’s Valcke. This is supposed to be a decision for the executive committee of Fifa. But maybe the executive committee doesn’t matter.
“If the decision has already been taken then it does not even need to meet, except for those people who enjoy chatting.” Platini has always backed a winter World Cup and is the only Fifa member to have confirmed he voted for Qatar, but said that was his “personal opinion” and added: “We have to consult the entire football family before making a decision.”
Meanwhile, Everton manager Roberto Martinez claims players would find it difficult to cope with a World Cup in the middle of their domestic club season.
He said: “I can’t see how a player’s mentality would be fine for going into a season, then starting the World Cup and then coming back and picking up where they left it. I find it very difficult to find a way that would work. It happens in some South American countries where you’ve got two parts of the season and the performances of the teams are very, very different. I can’t see that working, at all.
“I think that would affect the performances of the team and therefore affect the competition as a whole.”
Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis believes there would be strong resistance in England to any switch.
Pulis said: “I think there’s a long way [to go]. I don’t think this country would sit back idly and allow that to happen.”
Hull’s manager Steve Bruce admitted it was “impossible” to play in the summer in Qatar.
He said: “Something has to be done because to try to play in that summer will not just be impossible for players but even supporters who are going to be watching in that humidity.
“It’s just ridiculous so it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s moved as playing in winter makes more sense. We’ll all have a bit of a problem with that but it’s up to Fifa to find a solution.”