PRAGUE - Michel Platini, UEFA president
and a FIFA Executive committee member, said there was "something
beautiful" about the philosophy behind the decision to award the
2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.
He added that there was "nothing illogical" about the Qatar
decision, arguing the Middle East had been rejected as hosts
several times in the past.
The Frenchman, however, pondered alternatives to the current
voting system in which World Cup hosts are chosen by the
executive committee, which currently consists of 22 members.
Platini said he felt that FIFA's executive committee had
been won over by the thought of taking the World Cup to new
regions as he was quizzed about last week's vote in Zurich.
"Russia asked why they didn't have the right to organise the
World Cup and said it had already been held 10 times in Western
Europe," Platini told reporters. "I think maybe the executive
committee were sensitive to this."
"The same thing applies to Qatar and the Arab world. Morocco
has applied to host the World Cup four times and lost, Egypt
have also failed and Qatar asked when will the Middle East have
"Maybe, the members of the executive committee thought it
was a good opportunity to go to that part of the world once and
for all, a region that has never hosted the World Cup, so if
we're talking about developing football worldwide, which is
ultimately the goal of institutions such as FIFA or if we're
talking about European football, which is the goal of UEFA, well
it's something beautiful.
"That doesn't mean that UEFA has different objectives, we
voted for Poland and Ukraine (as Euro 2012 hosts) "
He added: "We opened new frontiers by taking the World Cup
to Africa and maybe the executive committee felt it was time to
open more new frontiers. There was nothing illogical about
Qatar was awarded the World Cup despite worries about the
fierce summer heat, which it says will be countered by the use
of air-conditioned stadiums.
"In the 1994 World Cup in the United States, the temperature
in Dallas, if I'm not mistaken, was 45 Celsius and nobody
criticised us at the time," said Platini.
"It's a long time and we're talking about this with (FIFA
president Sepp) Mr Blatter."
Platini said that holding the tournament in January, the
Qatari winter, could be an alternative as well as staging some
games in neighbouring countries.
"I agree, football in the Gulf in January, that would be
easier than June, why not, it's possible.
"However, many things would have to be changed in the
calendar, what would we do to re-organise ourselves and how much
rest time would be given to the players? Would we have February
off and re-start the season in March?"
Platini also pondered the suggestion that the FIFA Congress
- where representatives of FIFA's 208 member federations have a
direct vote - could choose the World Cup hosts, rather than the
"The difference is that South America only has 10 votes, so
maybe they would never get the World Cup," he said.
"I think we can think about this issue, maybe we can
elaborate a different system."
"The next time we will do this will be in 10 years' time."
In a similar vein, he said UEFA's decision to guarantee five
places in the Champions League for teams from lower-ranked
leagues was aimed at redistributing wealth and developing
Of the five this season, Zilina and Partizan Belgrade
finished bottom of their groups with no points while only FC
Copenhagen qualified for the last 16. Zilina's results included
a 7-0 home defeat by Olympique Marseille.
"It has been very positive," Platini said. "There was a 7-0
defeat of Zilina in Slovakia, but it's not the first time we've
had a 7-0 in the Champions League, and Bursaspor qualified under
the old system."
Bursaspor, who mustered just one point from the six group
games, qualified directly as Turkish champions thanks to their
country's captive place in the group stage.
Platini added: "I think it's a good opportunity to develop
football. It's good to have teams from Denmark, Slovakia, taking
part, this is about developing football and spreading economic
power, which sometimes was not the case in the past."
Former Chelsea and Liverpool boss poised to join Napoli, says Serie A club's president
Man City set next manager daunting task of winning five trophies in the next five years
Europa League winners in 2015 will qualify for the Champions League the following season
Berlin will stage Champions League final for the first time in 2015
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
75% of all TV is Bale
On the road to ruin
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010