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Blatter Endorses Moving 2022 World Cup to Winter

FIFA President Sepp Blatter speaks during the 24th Asian Football Confederation (AFC) congress in Doha, 6 Jan 2011

The president of football's world governing body, Sepp Blatter, has endorsed moving the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to winter in order to avoid the summer heat.

While attending the opening for the Asian Cup in Qatar Friday, Blatter said he felt the 2022 tournament should be moved to a cooler time of the year to protect the health of the players. Any changes would first have to be initiated by Qatar, which had planned to build air-conditioned stadiums.

The Gulf nation was awarded the 2022 World Cup in December despite concerns over summer temperatures that can exceed 40 degrees Celsius.

Many top football executives have endorsed the move, with the only opposition being Europe's big clubs, which fear a winter tournament would throw off their league schedule.

Blatter also criticized the International Olympic Committee on Friday while defending FIFA against corruption allegations.

Blatter said FIFA was more transparent than the IOC and the Olympic body handles its finances, in his words, "like a housewife," who "receives some money and she spends some money."

He also backtracked on plans to create a new anti-corruption commission within FIFA that was reported just a few days ago.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.