UEFA supremo Michel Platini defended his decision to support Qatar at the controversial World Cup ballot

European football chief Michel Platini has renewed his calls for the 2022 World Cup to be staged in the middle of the European winter to avoid the searing summer heat of Qatar.

UEFA supremo Platini, widely regarded as the heir apparent to FIFA President Sepp Blatter, indicated in an interview with The Daily Telegraph he plans to push for the tournament to be moved from its traditional slot in June and July.

Any move to reschedule the World Cup is likely to meet with strong resistance from top leagues across Europe, which have estimated it will bring scheduling problems for three years leading into the tournament.

Platini remains adamant that the tournament in Qatar can be slotted into a mid-winter date with a minimum of disruption.

“The World Cup is the most important moment for the game every four years, but where does it say we always have to play in June? I don?t see the problem of playing in December,” Platini told The Telegraph.

“What is the problem for the Premier League to finish at the end of May instead of the beginning, and recuperate the time in December? We have to put the World Cup and the fans first.”

Platini also defended his decision to support Qatar at the controversial World Cup ballot in December 2010, insisting there was no contradiction between his vote for the Gulf state and his desire to move the date.

He also denied his support for Qatar had been influenced by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

“The vote and the summer are two different things,” argued Platini. “I voted for a region that never received the World Cup, that was my philosophy, not because Sarkozy had lunch with me.

“I have enough personality to decide what is good for football, not for the president of France or the prime minister of Great Britain, who also wanted my vote.

“But I thought, after South Africa 2010, where it was zero degrees at 5pm and there was no life for the fans, how can we ask the fans and players to go to this country when it is 50 or 60 degrees in July? I think the best time to play is winter.”

Meanwhile Platini revealed he does not plan to attend France’s Euro 2012 clash with England in Ukraine in June.

“People will say I am there to talk to the referee,” he said.

©2011 AFP

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