Sepp Blatter expects 2022 World Cup to be held in January

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FIFA president Sepp Blatter expects the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to be held in January.

The game's showpiece is traditionally held in the northern hemisphere's summer but the stifling heat in the Middle East at that time of year has led to calls for a rethink.

And Blatter, speaking at the launch of the Asian Cup in Doha, told reporters: "I expect it will be held in the winter.

"We have time to look at this question, it is still 11 years away but we must decide the most adequate period for a successful World Cup which means January or the end of the year."

FIFA's executive committee opted to take the World Cup to Qatar, ahead of more favoured nations Australia and the United States, in December, having also decided to stage the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Concerns regarding the conditions were initially tempered by the promise of air-conditioned stadiums and training venues but Blatter now believes FIFA could change tack for the well-being of the players.

He added: "Do not forget there is still 11 years to go and although we have the basic conditions of their bid for a June and July World Cup, the FIFA executive committee is entitled to change anything that was in the bid.

"When you play football you have to protect the main people, the players."

Any change to the world calendar would play havoc with domestic schedules, especially in Europe where the majority of leagues play through the winter.

Blatter has denied previously that FIFA were motivated by money in taking the tournament to Qatar.

He said last month: "If we wanted to make money, we would have gone to the United States and not this country.

"I understand that it may seem surprising, but we must not forget that they are making efforts and they have already hosted FIFA competitions."

He continued: "With Qatar, we are opening football to a new world and a new culture.

"The Arab world has tried several times, with Morocco and Egypt for example, to host the World Cup."

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