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Blatter 'settled' on summer World Cup

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has given a strong hint that the World Cup in Qatar in 2022 will be held in the summer.

Worries about the extreme temperatures in the Gulf in June and July led to suggestions the tournament could instead be staged in the winter, causing a major headache for the scheduling of domestic leagues.

Blatter, though, confirmed the current plan is for the event to take place at the traditional time.

He told BBC Radio Five Live: "I think for the time being this matter is on ice.

"We have just signed the final documents and the delegation from Qatar was here in FIFA House, and everything is settled now, but it's settled for summer and all the 64 matches in the territory of Qatar."

Blatter also appeared to confirm, meanwhile, that there was some form of alliance between the World Cup bids from Spain/Portugal and Qatar ahead of December's vote in Zurich.

A FIFA investigation cleared the pair of any wrongdoing , but Blatter said: "I'll be honest, there was a bundle of votes between Spain and Qatar, but it was a nonsense. It was there but it didn't work, not for one side and not for the other side."

Following England's failure to pick up more than two votes for their 2018 bid, Prime Minister David Cameron described the way world football is governed as "murky".

Blatter defended FIFA, although he again stressed that the decision to hold the vote for two World Cups at the same time was a mistake that will not be repeated.

He said: "I don't like the word murky in this context. Have you ever had in the world transparency in votes or elections? You do not know who will win until the end.

"Those that have lost, I can understand they are not happy. If England had got past the first round, I'm sure they would have got more votes in the second round, but the problem was they didn't get through, and the same happened to Australia for 2022."

Blatter also voiced his worries about the growing strength of the club game, although he insisted his concern is not solely focused on the Barclays Premier League.

He said: "I haven't got a problem with the English Premier League, I have a problem with those leagues that use the majority of the players not from the country where the league is played. This is detrimental to the national team.

"There is a movement also, and this is a real danger - there are directors or owners of clubs, not only in England, saying why should we continue to have national teams?

"This is a struggle we have now. It's very important and one day somebody will be at the head of FIFA who represents the interests of club football."

Blatter added: "There is a lot of criticism towards me but it doesn't matter, I think we are on the right path if we think that football is not only a game. Not only football for hope, but football as a school of life."

:: Listen to Brian Alexander's full interview on Radio Five Live from 1900 GMT on Monday 7 February.

PA Media