Fifa: no Qatar decision before 2014
Fifa has launched a consultation process to decide whether to move the 2022 World Cup in Qatar away from the traditional June-July slot and will not make a decision until mid-2014 at the earliest, president Sepp Blatter said yesterday.
Blatter added that Fifa "would not turn a blind eye" to allegations of labour abuses in Qatar following reports that dozens of Nepali workers had died on building sites in the country over the summer.
Qatar was awarded the right to host the competition in December 2010 in a decision based on its plans to stage the event in June-July using air-conditioned stadiums to combat the fierce heat. Despite Qatar's assurances that the plan is viable, there has been widespread concern over the health of the players and visiting fans in the searing conditions of the desert summer.
Blatter said there was no question of staging the tournament elsewhere. "The 2022 World Cup will be played in Qatar. There you are," he said.
Blatter said all stakeholders would be involved in the consultation. "The stakeholders include the players, the clubs, the leagues, the national federations, the confederations and Fifa, but it doesn't only include sports," he said. "There are other partners, economic ones, be they from marketing, the media or television.
No decision would be taken until after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, which finishes in July.
Blatter said labour rights were not Fifa's responsibility but they could not ignore any problems.
"Throughout the world this is not Fifa's remit, we cannot assume responsibility for the security of building sites in the world, but we're not indifferent. We can't say it doesn't concern us," he said.
"I express all my sympathy and regret for anything that happens in any country where there are deaths on construction sites, especially when they are related to a World Cup," he said.