Bin Hammam rules out World Cup date change

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London, Jan 14 (AFP) Asian football chief Mohamed BinHammam today ruled out shifting the 2022 World Cup in Qatar towinter or staging tournament matches around the Gulf region.

Bin Hammam told Sky News in an interview that he was"unimpressed" by suggestions from FIFA President Sepp Blatterthat the tournament could be moved to a winter time slot.

He also took aim at remarks by UEFA President MichelPlatini earlier this week that the 2022 tournament could be a"Gulf World Cup", with matches taking place in severalcountries surrounding Qatar.

"I believe Qatar can stand alone and organise thecompetition by itself," Asian Football Confederation PresidentBin Hammam told Sky.

"And I''m really not very impressed by these opinions todistribute the game over the Gulf or change the time from Julyto January - it''s actually premature, you know, it''s people''sopinions and they''re just discussing it on no basis or noground," the Qatari official added.

English football clubs have said switching the World Cupto January or February would be a logistical nightmare thatwould need at least a two-month mid-season break to thePremier League.

Bin Hammam appeared to sympathise with European leagueslikely to be affected by a date change as he continued hiscriticism of Blatter''s remarks.

"It''s not up to one, two or three members of Fifa to talkabout changing the time without getting the real stakeholders''opinions," Bin Hammam added.

"I know that football in Europe has quite a history, itis quite a business involving a lot of financial, media,marketing - a lot of things," he said

"It is unfair to these people that we talk about changingthe calendar or the time without their full consultation andtheir full approval and their full agreement - I''m actuallynot happy to see that happening without the real stakeholders''part of this discussion."

FIFA has said world football''s governing body would needto receive an official request from the Qatar FA before anychange of the 2022 tournament dates could be formallydiscussed.

Bin Hammam said no request would be forthcoming.

"We are not interested - we are very happy and we arepromising the world that we are going to organise an amazingworld cup in June and July," he said. (AFP) SNK

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