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Friday, December 2, 2011
Platini happy to back winter World Cup

UEFA president Michel Platini says it is "not a problem" to rearrange European club competitions in order to allow the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to be played in winter in the northern hemisphere.

Platini, who also confirmed he voted for Qatar as 2022 hosts, said the World Cup "is the most important thing'' and that it would be better to play the tournament when the whether was cooler.

Asked if he would move competitions such as the Champions League and Europa League, Platini told Al Jazeera: "Of course. If we play in winter, not a problem to organise it. How can people go to Qatar in 50 degrees in June? If the people can't come to enjoy it it's not good.

"If we play in winter it will be not a problem. Instead [of stopping the season] in May you play until June, and then stop in December. Where is the problem?''

Platini, who appears to preparing the way for a bid to succeed Sepp Blatter as FIFA president, said it was right that an Arab nation were hosting the World Cup after Egypt and Morocco had previously lost bids.

"For me I voted for Qatar, because I think it's nice to go in another part of the world, with people who never received the World Cup," he said. "I think it was a good decision, but now I think we have to adapt when is the best moment and where is the best moment to play this World Cup in Qatar.''

Platini also described Blatter as "clumsy'' over his remark, since withdrawn, that racism on the field of play should be settled by a handshake. "Blatter was clumsy but he's not a racist,'' said Platini.

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