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FIFA chief Blatter says summer World Cup in Qatar a 'mistake'

LAUSANNE--FIFA President Sepp Blatter has said it was a mistake to choose Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup in the summertime, adding that it must be held in the winter instead.

When asked if it was a mistake choosing the Middle East country because of its high temperatures during the summer months, Blatter said in an interview Thursday with Swiss RTS station: “Yes, of course.”

“You know, everyone makes mistakes in life,” he added.

The average temperature tops 40C in June and July (104 degrees Fahrenheit), when World Cup finals usually take place.

“The Qatar technical report ruled that it was too hot in the summer, but the (FIFA's) executive committee, with a large majority, decided to play in Qatar,” said Blatter.

In these circumstances, “it is more than likely” that the 2022 World Cup will be played in winter, said Blatter, who has repeatedly expressed his desire to move the tournament to a more suitable date.

Temperatures in the winter in Qatar are around 25C (77 degrees Fahrenheit).

“The best time to play is at the end of the year. You must remain realistic ... we must play in winter at the end of the year,” added Blatter.

Following his comments, FIFA issued a statement saying that they were fully in line with previous comments on the matter.

“As explained in his answer to the journalist, the President reiterated that the decision to organize the World Cup in summer was an “error” based on the technical assessment report of the bid, which had highlighted the extremely hot temperatures in summer in Qatar,” The statement said.

“At no stage did he question Qatar as the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”

Blatter's comments accord with the position taken by his number two, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, who said in January that the 2022 World Cup should be held ideally between Nov. 15 and Jan. 15.

A decision on whether the tournament will be moved from summer to the winter in eight years' time has been postponed by FIFA until after next month's World Cup finals in Brazil.

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