DUBAI: Michel Platini still wants the 2022 World Cup played in the winter in Qatar – and will doubtless further upset Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues by defining ‘winter’ as November and December writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The president of European federation UEFA reiterated his stance at a conference in nearby Dubai.

His words now carry extra weight of concern for leagues and clubs in England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain – which provide a majority of the World Cup players – because the Qataris want a decision sooner rather than later.

Platini, one member of the FIFA executive committee who has made no secret about having cast his vote for Qatar, appreciates plans to air-cool the stadia, training camps and fan zones, but believes this is insufficient to outweight the overall effect of high summer temperatures.

The Frenchman who is favourite to succeed Sepp Blatter as FIFA president in 2015 also remains an adherent of enhancing the ‘missionary’ effect of a first Middle East World Cup by taking matches to neighbouring states.

Platini said: “If you go to Qatar in June/July then my message to you is ‘good luck’ because it will be 55 degrees.

“It’s good that the stadia can be air-cooled but I think that the most important sports events in the world should be played in the most appropriate conditions for the sport – and the best time would be to play in the winter.

“That would mean November/December 2022 so as not to clash with the Winter Olympic Games which are scheduled for January 2022.”

He also added: “It would be a good thing” if the tournament were shared with neighbouring Gulf states.

# # # #