Blatter: 2022 could be held at end of year

LAUSANNE - The 2022 World Cup in Qatar could be held at the beginning of the year or the end of it, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Tuesday.

"For FIFA, if there's the will to change something for the international calendar for one year, it's possible to do, because if there's a will, there's also a solution," the head of world football's governing body told reporters.

"But for now, there are the pros and cons but it is premature to make any decisions on what may happen but all I am saying is that winter is not only January and February, winter is also the end of the year."

Since Qatar in December won the right to host the finals with a plan to stage them in June/July, Blatter has said that the 2022 tournament could be held in the winter time to avoid the summer heat in the desert state.

This idea has triggered a wave of criticism with many league officials around the world complaining that the whole club competition calendar would have to be adjusted to accommodate a winter World Cup.

Blatter was speaking on Tuesday at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters during a visit by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The IOC is especially sensitive to a winter World Cup because it could hamper that year's winter Olympics. It has called on FIFA to discuss the matter with Olympic officials once it has decided on the dates of the tournament.

"It would be sensible once a decision is envisaged by FIFA to sit around the table to see it is not harmful for either of the two parties," IOC president Jacques Rogge said earlier this month.

Winter Olympics are traditionally held over 16 days between the last week of January and the end of February. The 2022 Games will be awarded in 2015.