MILAN: Fabio Cannavaro, who captained Italy to victory in the 2006 World Cup, has backed UEFA president Michel Platini in urging  winter World Cup for Qatar in 2022.

World federation FIFA voted for Qatar, in December 2010, in response to a bid which proposed state-of-the-art solar-powered all-cooling systems for all the stadia to cope with the heat of the summer in the Gulf. But several exco members, including Platini and the former CONCACAF general secretary Chuck Blazer, have queried the effect of the heat for fans and ancillary services.

Early this month Platini repeated his call for the Qatar World Cup to be staged in January/February. Cannavaro, who played for Al-Ahli in neighbouring Dubai in the closing stages of his career, agrees. He said:¬†“In Qatar they have enormous economic resources to be able to do anything but between June and September it is really hot, so FIFA will surely consider other dates.

“They love soccer in Arabian countries although local local population is not very big, so there aren’t so many people playing this sport. But they are starting to play now and they have the resources, although it will take time.”

Qatar officials and FIFA president Sepp Blatter have all noted that no formal proposal to switch the dates of the 2022 World Cup have been registered. Hassan Al-Thawadi has stated, in answer to repeated questions, that the timing is a matter for FIFA and the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee will adapt to whatever dates are ultimately wanted.

Cannavaro’s comments may be viewed with suspicion by officials of the Qatar Olympic association since Doha is bidding to host the 2020 Olympic Games . . . as is Italian capital Rome.