Robertson: Qatar mess FIFA's fault

30 September 2013 05:46

Sports minister Hugh Robertson has condemned FIFA for making "a mess" of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar but sees no option other than moving the tournament to the winter.

FIFA's executive committee is due to decide later this week on the principle of moving the tournament, and is expected to agree that it should be moved from its usual time of June and July to earlier or later in the year due to the extreme heat during those months.

UEFA's 54 member nations have already backed a move.

Robertson, who was part of the delegation for England's failed bid for the 2018 World Cup in 2010 - at the same time that Qatar won the 2022 finals, also believes that those other countries who bid for 2022 should be compensated by FIFA.

He said: "I don't think anybody in the world of football thinks a World Cup in Qatar in the summer is a sensible or deliverable option.

"To that extent, this is a mess of FIFA's own making.

"I don't blame the Qataris at all - they wanted the World Cup and every country is entitled to have that ambition and they entered the bidding competition in the way suggested by FIFA. I entirely blame FIFA."

The minister, who admitted that the Government's relations with the world governing body had deteriorated since 2010, also said there should be no disruption to the football seasons either side of 2022.

He added: "I don't have much of a relationship with FIFA. I have a good one with UEFA but we did say in 2010 after the 2018 World Cup bid that we didn't wish to deal with FIFA again until they have reformed their governance.

"I also don't see that moving this [moving to winter] should be allowed to disrupt the years either side of the event."

Source: PA