UK & World News
Qatar World Cup: Uefa Backs Switch To Winter
Uefa's 54 member countries have voted in favour of switching the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from summer to winter, even though the rest of European football has reservations.
The associations have told the president of Europe's governing body Michel Platini they would prefer the competition to be held in January so it does not clash with the Champions League.
Their decision to back the winter switch was taken at a meeting in Dubrovnik in Croatia.
With summer temperatures in Qatar reaching 50C, concerns have been expressed about the health of players and fans alike if the tournament is held then.
Fifa, football's world governing body, is expected to agree in principle to the switch at its next executive committee meeting in October.
Speaking after the Dubrovnik meeting, Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce said: "Obviously there are certain reservations regarding the World Cup in Qatar, but everyone agrees that it would be impossible to play in the severe heat of Qatar in the summer.
"What the member associations want to see at the Fifa ExCo in October is that a task force is set up for everyone involved in Qatar to sit around the table and come up with the best solution with the minimum disruption.
"They all agreed to take thousands of fans to the greatest sporting event in the world in the middle of the summer would be just impossible."
European football clubs, leagues and players unions are also opposed to the Qatar World Cup being played in the summer.
But some, like the English Premier League, are also against a winter move because of the massive disruption it would cause to the football calendar.
If agreement cannot be reached on a winter date it has been suggested Fifa take the competition away from Qatar and award it to one of the other shortlisted countries instead - Australia, the US, Japan and South Korea.
Qatar has said it can stage the World Cup in the summer despite the searing heat by building air-conditioned stadiums which would cool the temperatures inside to around 28C.
However, there are still worries about how fans will cope with the heat away from the stadiums.
In recent interviews, Fifa president Sepp Blatter has said the organisation never stated the World Cup had to be held in summer when it awarded the hosting of the tournament in 2010.
His comments came after suggestions that the other countries who applied to stage the tournament could take legal action or call for a re-vote if the timing was changed.
Uefa chief Platini, who says he voted for Qatar, is among those in favour of a change, suggesting that January-February would be the best time even though this could clash with the 2022 Winter Olympics.