UEFA president Michel Platini has called for the 2022 World Cup to be played across the whole of the Arabian Gulf rather than just in Qatar.
His call is likely to fuel the controversy sparked by FIFA president Sepp Blatter saying he expected the tournament to be played in the winter – neither proposal was suggested during last year’s World Cup bidding.
Platini has also labelled English football administration as “strange” but denied that resentment at Britain’s special status within FIFA led to England’s humiliating 2018 World Cup defeat.
He told reporters at UEFA’s headquarters: “I hope it will be a World Cup of the Gulf. It could be the World Cup of Qatar but played in the Gulf.
“I think we need political people (for this to happen), but I think so.”
Asked why such drastic changes could be considered when they were never mentioned during the bidding campaign, Platini added: “Who will remember the words in 12 years? In 12 years everybody will be happy to have a very well-organised World Cup and not remember what’s happened before.
“When I organised the World Cup in France we did (things) differently from what we proposed in the bid.”
The UEFA president said England should work with FIFA instead of continuing to complain about their 2018 World Cup bid defeat. He also referred to the appointment of Football Association chairman-elect David Bernstein as being strange in that he was chosen by a small group rather than in an election.
Platini said: “In England you are different, in every way you are different. The way you elect a president (sic) of the FA is very strange.
“It’s asking three people to recommend one, it’s strange.
“It’s your world and you decide what you want to do. For me I don’t have to interfere but I can say it’s strange.
“I think FIFA and UEFA needs big countries and England definitely is a big country.
“England needs to be with UEFA and UEFA needs England. We are in the same way for football. We have to be together.
“It is not because the FIFA members don’t vote for (England) that they don’t like (England).”
He also dismissed suggestions that England were unfairly dealt with in their 2018 bid.
“When the 2012 Olympics did not come to Paris, did everyone say that the IOC was corrupted?” he added.
“Blatter said that fair play was an English thing but you have not been so ’fair play’.
“It is not because people don’t vote for England that it’s the end of the world.
“The bid was very good, fantastic, but FIFA decided they had to go to the east instead of Spain or England. Belgium-Netherlands was a good bid too.”
Platini said he would continue to defend the British FIFA vice-presidency and the four home nations being the only associations represented on the International FA Board, the game’s law-making body, along with FIFA.
“I think it’s tradition and it’s good like that,” he added.
Platini did not speak about playing the 2022 World Cup in January but raised the prospect of a major change to the football calendar.
He added: “When I came in 1998 as advisor to Sepp Blatter I worked on the international calendar and my proposal to Blatter was to play from February to December.
“FIFA was close to accepting that, then Italy and Spain said no because they wanted to play in winter. Finish.
“It is necessary to think what could be the future. I don’t say to play in winter or not to play in winter but to think about what could be the calendar in the future.”