Bin Hammam: Winter World Cup debate can wait

Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam today called for talk of a winter World Cup in Qatar to stop until after the 2018 tournament in Russia.

The high temperature in Qatar during summer months has led to suggestions the 2022 finals could be moved to a cooler time of year, and Fifa president Sepp Blatter caused a stir earlier this month when he admitted that he "expects" the World Cup to be moved to January.

The 74-year-old's comments led Bin Hammam to last week insist there were no plans to move the tournament from its traditional spot on the football calendar of June and July.

Fifa today released a statement which clarified that Qatar would have to make the first move if the 2022 tournament is to take place in winter, and Bin Hammam welcomed the announcement before urging for attention to be switched to the next World Cup, in Brazil in 2014.

"If it is up to us then I believe it should be discussed after 2018, let us now focus on (the World Cup in) 2014 which is only three and a half years from now," Bin Hammam said.

"I think it should be left to those people who will be in charge of Fifa (in 2018) and of the leagues and the clubs to decide what they want for 2022."

Bin Hammam reiterated his stance that Qatar are capable of hosting the World Cup in the summer - as outlined in their bid campaign - and that there are no plans to alter that without discussions taking place first with stakeholders.

"Our bid was for the World Cup to be played in the summer and this is our opinion," he added.

"Any other opinion should be discussed among all the stakeholders, with those being Fifa, national associations, players and clubs. Those people have to discuss everything.

"I am not opposing but I am not proposing to move it."

Bin Hammam also remained quiet on whether he plans to mount a challenge to Sepp Blatter for the Fifa presidency in June, replying with "No comment" when asked what his plans were for the election.