Fifa president Sepp Blatter has admitted that Qatar’s selection to host the 2022 World Cup “may well have been a mistake.”
The oil-rich Middle Eastern nation won the right to host the competition in December 2010.
And ever since then, fears have been mounting that it is simply too hot in Qatar to hold the most important football tournament of all there.
There are major fears that the searing summer heat- which frequently rises well above 40 degrees- will be dangerous for players and fans alike.
Qatar was quick to insist that by 2022 they would have figured out how to keep the World Cup cool. But their mooted ideas seemed hair-brained at best, and the temperature is rising within the football community as the tournament inches slowly closer.
Blatter now agrees that “it may well have been a mistake” to award Qatar the World Cup in the first place, but he insists that there can be no going back.
His solution is to force Qatar to host the tournament in their winter, and this notion is likely to be put to a vote by Fifa in the near future.
Blatter has flip-flopped from his original stance that Qatar must propose a winter World Cup themselves, to his new belief that a winter World Cup in 2022 is more or less inevitable.
Ever the opportunist, he now champions the idea of a winter World Cup as evidence of Fifa’s global outlook. And says it is unfair to the rest of the world to insists that the tournament takes place exclusively to suit the Northern Hemisphere’s football calendar.
"If we maintain, rigidly, the status quo, then a Fifa World Cup can never be played in countries that are south of the equator or indeed near the equator," Blatter told Inside World Football.
"We automatically discriminate against countries that have different seasons than we do in Europe.
“I think it is high time that Europe starts to understand that we do not rule the world any more, and that some former European imperial powers can no longer impress their will on to others in far-away places."
Blatter’s new ‘anti-European’ stance will only increase the perception that he is gearing up for a battle over the Fifa presidency with Uefa president Michel Platini.
Meanwhile, the timing of the Qatar World Cup looks set to cause a major legal battle.
Domestic leagues like the English Premier dead set against rearranging their own calendars as the result of what Blatter now thinks “may well have been a mistake,” and while there is still a long time for them to plan for the eventuality, English football in particular does not seem likely to simply allow Blatter to have his cake and eat it.