World Cup 2022: Qatar chief rejects calls to move finals

By Richard Conway5 live sports news correspondent
Qatar will keep World Cup - 2022 bid chief

The head of the Qatar 2022 World Cup has rejected calls for the tournament to be awarded to another country.

Governing body Fifa is expected to move the tournament to winter to avoid Qatar's high summer temperatures.

And Football Association chairman Greg Dyke said the tournament might have to move location if a suitable time to play in Qatar could not be agreed.

But Hassan al-Thawadi insists there is "no reason" why Qatar should not host the event as planned in 2022.

"We've worked very, very hard to ensure we're within the rules of the bidding, within the rules of the hosting agreement," he told BBC Sport.

"At the same time, we're delivering on all the promises that we've made. We're working very hard to deliver it. The commitment is there.

"[Qatar] is the right place, the Middle East is the right place, We are representing the Middle East, it is a Middle Eastern World Cup. The Middle East deserves to host a major tournament."

Fifa president Sepp Blatter is determined to switch the 2022 World Cup to the winter as summer temperatures can reach 50C in the Middle Eastern country.

Blatter, 77, has admitted the governing body may have made a "mistake" in awarding the tournament to Qatar in the summer.

"A summer World Cup is what we bid for - it's the original plan - and we are going for it and we are moving ahead with it," said Al-Thawadi, who is Secretary General of the Qatar 2022 Organising Committee.

"I'd like to assure everybody that it is not an impossibility to host the World Cup in Qatar in the summer."

But he added that Qatar could host the tournament "at any time".

FA chairman Dyke told the BBC in August that a summer World Cup in Qatar, who defeated rival bids from South Korea, Japan, Australia and the United States in December 2010, would be "impossible".

The Premier League has taken an opposing stance, with chief executive Richard Scudamore insisting the tournament should go ahead in the summer.

However, Europe's leading clubs have said they are "open" to the possibility of a winter World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, chairman of the European Club Association (ECA) believes it is "probably" better to switch the finals to winter.

The ECA is an independent body representing the interests of Europe's leading clubs. Ten English clubs are members - Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton, Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle and Tottenham.

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