Football: Japan coach Zaccheroni supports winter World Cup in Qatar in 2022

(REUTERS) - Alberto Zaccheroni, coach of Asian champions Japan, has thrown his backing behind switching the date of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from July to January.

"Personally, I think there would be a higher quality World Cup by moving it," the Italian told reporters in Serbia ahead of Japan's friendly clash today.

"Matches should be enjoyed in a pleasant environment and moving the tournament to January would be the answer."

Zaccheroni led Japan to a record fourth Asian Cup title two years ago in Qatar when organisers opted to host the event in January.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has launched a consultation process to decide whether the first World Cup in the Middle East should be held in the hot summer months or moved to the winter.

He has said he would prefer a winter World Cup in Qatar, with European football federations saying it would be impossible to stage the event in the summer.

Qatar World Cup organisers have said they are able to hold the tournament at any time of the year, thanks to a cooling technology they are developing for stadiums, training areas and fan zones that is powered by renewable energy.

A decision on the dates is expected after the World Cup in Brazil next year, Blatter has said.