Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Platini wants Gulf-wide World Cup

Michel Platini

UEFA president Michel Platini has called for the 2022 World Cup to be played across the whole of the Arabian Gulf rather than just in Qatar.

His call is likely to fuel the controversy sparked by Fifa president Sepp Blatter saying he expected the tournament to be played in the winter — neither proposal was suggested during last year's World Cup bidding.

Platini has also labelled English football administration as “strange” but denied that resentment at Britain's special status within Fifa led to England's humiliating 2018 World Cup defeat.

He told reporters at Uefa's headquarters: “I hope it will be a World Cup of the Gulf. It could be the World Cup of Qatar but played in the Gulf. I think we need political people (for this to happen), but I think so.”

Asked why such drastic changes could be considered when they were never mentioned during the bidding campaign, Platini added: “Who will remember the words in 12 years? In 12 years everybody will be happy to have a very well-organised World Cup and not remember what's happened before.

“When I organised the World Cup in France we did (things) differently from what we proposed in the bid.”

The Uefa president said England should work with Fifa instead of continuing to complain about their 2018 World Cup bid defeat.

He also dismissed suggestions that England were unfairly dealt with in their 2018 bid.

“When the 2012 Olympics did not come to Paris, did everyone say that the IOC was corrupted?” he added.

“Blatter said that fair play was an English thing but you have not been so ‘fair play’.”

Platini said he would continue to defend the British Fifa vice-presidency and the four home nations being the only associations represented on the International FA Board, the game's law-making body, along with Fifa. “I think it's tradition and it's good like that,” he added.

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