LONDON: Michel Platini has just managed the simple task again in stating that he thinks the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar must be played in the winter to avoid the summer heat.
Platini said it within weeks of casting his vote in favour of Qatar when the FIFA executive committee voted in December 2010. He has said so at regular intervals since.
The significance of his latest reiteration, while touring the Football Association’s Midlands training centre at St George’s Park, is that it comes only two days after Europe’s leagues and clubs told the timing taskforce that they preferred April/May or May/June respectively.
Hence Platini was lining up the toughest other half of the job, a looming clash of wills with the European clubs who provide 75pc of the players who appear at the World Cup finals.
Platini, who envisages shifting the 2022 Champions League semi-finals and final on to June, told the BBC: “It’ll never be in April, May or June. It will be in winter.”
He was confident the clubs would accept the decision because “it’s not the clubs that are playing, it’s the players and it’s not possible to play in May when it’s 40deg.”
The FIFA review group, under the leadership of Asian confederation president Sheikh Salman Ebrahim bin Khalifa, has identified January/February or November/December as the most suitable options in terms of conditions.
A political complication is that a January/February date would mean a clash with the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing or Almaty; a commercial complication is that it would also clash with the Superbowl and infuriate Fox which has already paid for World Cup rights.
Platini added: “As president of UEFA, I have no problem whether it’s in November, December, January or February. I have no problem. For the competition of the Champions League, we have no problem.
“Your clubs in England, your league has a problem . . . but we have to find a compromise. Everybody has to lose something but in the end I think winter will be a good date.
“It will not be in April, it will not be in May or June or July or September. It will be November, December or January.”