FIFA President Sepp Blatter today appeared to end hopes that Qatar could be stripped of its right to host the 2022 World Cup or that the tournament might be moved from its traditional date in the summer to the winter.

Critics of the decision to award the tiny Middle East country the 2022 FIFA World Cup have been claiming that the event cannot be played in the summer because of the searing heat there.

Blatter insisted at the end of a two-day meeting of FIFA's ruling Executive Committee in Zurich that only the local organisers in Qatar could ask for the dates to be changed and so far they had not done that.

"We are not losing control with the World Cup, or 2022," said Blatter.

"Concerning the 2022 World Cup, discussions started at the time when the decision was taken and then people have realised that when playing summer will be difficult because it is very hot.

"But the basic principles of the award of the World Cup were very clear and have not changed in the meantime.

"They are still the same, FIFA's World Cup is a competition with 32 teams and 64 matches, and has to be played in June and July.

"This has never been put into question by the organisers, who have been given the responsibility.

"If there is a move it must come from Qatar, it is not relevant to the FIFA Executive Committee which stands by the decision taken in December 2010."

Blatter admitted that he could not predict what would happen if Qatar did ask for a change of dates, which must come before 2016 when a final tournament timetable must be approved by FIFA.

"I have put a question mark and that's all but I'm not a prophet to say what will happen," he said.

"Let us be where we are and let us work on the World Cup 2014 [in Brazil], there is enough to do for that competition, and then 2018 [in Russia] and then 2022."

By Duncan Mackay