LONDON (AP) — FIFA President Sepp Blatter has raised fresh doubts about the safety of playing the 2022 World Cup in Qatar during summer.
There have been growing calls to move the tournament to the winter to avoid the sweltering desert heat that is expected to exceed 104 degrees in June and July. UEFA President Michel Platini is one of those requesting the switch.
Blatter says players and fans will be fine in the air-conditioned stadiums, but he adds that the World Cup is also an event outside the stadiums, "so it is a question mark." He said a decision would not be made until after the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
In an interview with Sky Sports News, Blatter addressed other matters. He reiterated his belief in deducting points from teams in cases of racial abuse — which he believes is the one of the biggest scourges in soccer, along with match-fixing.
"Our committee at FIFA has given a sentence to play without spectators — this is one of the solutions, (but) I think a more radical solution would be deduction of points," Blatter said. "Deduction of points would have a better impact on that than any other sanction.
"I think we can never do enough to eradicate all the racism in football," added Blatter, who said he was thinking of holding a summit "with all the actors concerning discrimination and racism."
Blatter also confirmed during the interview that in 2015 he'll be leaving his job as head of soccer's governing body. He says there is a "good possibility" Platini will be his successor but remains unconvinced that the former France midfielder is excited about the role.
"I am not so sure that he is willing to go into the position as the FIFA president," Blatter said. "He has not declared officially but he could, would, should be a good successor always and ever."
Blatter said he envisages becoming a radio commentator, providing analysis of matches, once his career with FIFA has finished.