By Mike Collett

DOHA (Reuters) - The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will probably be staged in January rather than June or July, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said for the first time on Friday.

Speaking to a media roundtable in the Qatari capital before the opening match of the Asian Cup, he said: "I expect it will be held in the winter.

"We have time to look at this question, it is still 11 years away but we must decide the most adequate period for a successful World Cup which means January or the end of the year."

Summer temperatures in Qatar can soar to over 40 degrees Celsius while those in the winter months are far more comfortable.

"When you play football you have to protect the main people, the players."

When the decision was announced last month to award Qatar the 2022 finals -- the first time the event has been held in the Middle East -- many observers were concerned the intense temperatures there which can top 50 Celsius would be unbearable for players and fans alike.

In January, the temperatures are usually between 20 and 30 Celsius.

(Editing by John O'Brien)