Blatter set to visit Qatar over concerns

FIFA president Sepp Blatter will make a personal visit to 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar to express concerns over the treatment of migrant workers.

Football News: Sepp Blatter

Blatter will meet the new Emir and will discuss the country's moves to improve conditions after an investigation revealed dozens of Nepalese workers have died in Qatar this year.

The findings have caused embarrassment to tournament organisers and FIFA, and Qatar's supreme committee has written to FIFA outlining its commitment to tackle the abuses.

Blatter said: "I will go with a delegation in the name of the executive committee of FIFA for a courtesy visit, but it is also a visit to confirm the World Cup 2022.

"I will also touch on this concern which concerns many people in the world and that is the working conditions in that country but we can't be the ones who can change it.

"It is a responsibility not only for Qatar but the construction companies, and there are many European companies working there. We cannot turn a blind eye but we cannot make a direct intervention - but the Qatar government have confirmed they will do so."

Blatter also announced the first step in a process which could lead to the 2022 World Cup moving to the winter - and stressed there is no threat to the Middle East country losing the tournament.

FIFA has agreed to begin a consultation process and no decision on dates will be made until the end of next year - and perhaps not until 2015.

A working group will look at all the impacts of moving the tournament from June/July due to the extreme heat in the Gulf at that time of year.

Jerome Valcke, the FIFA general secretary, will head the group and it is expected Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore will be asked to take part.

Blatter told a news conference in Zurich: "The FIFA World Cup 2022 will be played in Qatar. There you have it. Qatar will have 2022 but we don't know if it will be winter or summer."

The Premier League, which had been pushing for FIFA not to make any firm decision before consulting widely, welcomed the outcome.

A Premier League spokesman said: "We welcome the news that FIFA intends to conduct a thorough consultation process involving all of the appropriate stakeholders, including confederations, associations, leagues and clubs."

Blatter also refused to be drawn on any possible outcome of FIFA ethics chief Michael Garcia's ongoing investigation into the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups - the American attorney has only just started speaking to bidding countries including England despite the review being announced in November last year.

He said: "The ethics committee is totally independent and has nothing to do with executive committee and we have no influence over it."



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