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FIFA bows to pressure on winter World Cup

FIFA has backed down on plans to stage the 2022 World Cup in the winter months under pressure from European clubs.

Following the controversial decision to award the tournament to the Middle Eastern state last year, FIFA president Sepp Blatter mooted the possibility of hosting the event in the winter months.

Blatter suggested the move would allay fears soaring temperatures during the Qatari summer would prove dangers to players and supporters visiting the country.

The move was supported by UEFA chief Michel Platini and FIFA executive committee member Franz Beckenbauer.

However, a move to the winter months would disrupt three seasons of European competition, prompting officials to call for a summer tournament.

Bundesliga chief executive Christian Seifert said he had been “surprised” by the suggestions and said: “Maybe the international tournaments should more attention and respect to the clubs, leagues and international fans.”

The European Club Association (ECA) – led by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge of Bayern Munich – is also expected to question the idea when it meets next month.

FIFA’s plans have been left in disarray by the latest announcement

As the protest grows, FIFA has moved to “clarify” the situation.

“At this stage there are no concrete plans to change the international match calendar,” read a statement.

“Any potential move of the 2022 FIFA World Cup from a summer to a winter period would have to be initiated by the football association of Qatar and would have to be presented to the FIFA Executive Committee.”

The latest announcement has, however, added further confusion, apparently leaving FIFA to face a raft of concerns.

Outside of the Qatari temperatures, objections have also been raised to intolerance toward homosexuals in the Middle East and possible limitations on alcohol consumption.

The modest stature of the Qatari national football side, limited number of local fans and lack of stadia are also ongoing concerns.