SBD/January 21, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

FIFA Backtracks On Plan To Move '22 World Cup To Winter

FIFA says World Cup date change must be requested by Qatar
FIFA has “backtracked on a plan to switch the 2022 World Cup finals from summer to winter amid growing opposition from European clubs over the disruption it would cause to their leagues,” according to Ashling O’Connor of the LONDON TIMES. FIFA on Thursday said that there “were ‘no concrete plans’ to change the international calendar and put the onus back on” Qatar to “drive any move to hold the tournament in its cooler months.” FIFA in a statement said, “Any potential move of the 2022 FIFA World Cup from a summer to a winter period would have to be initiated by the football association of Qatar and would have to be presented to the FIFA executive committee.” FIFA President Sepp Blatter earlier this month said he “expected” the tournament to be held in January instead of June. Since Blatter’s “declaration about a possible winter World Cup, senior football club executives and administrators across Europe have voiced concerns about the impact of a ten-week break in the middle of their domestic seasons and the knock-on disruption of a further two seasons on either side.” EPL CEO Richard Scudamore is “expected to argue strongly against the idea of a winter World Cup” when he travels to Qatar next week as a guest of Asian Football Confederation President Mohammed bin Hammam. Bin Hammam has “previously dismissed a date change, saying that Qatar was capable of hosting it in the summer, the basis on which it was selected last month, by playing matches in air-conditioned stadiums.” But on Thursday, he appeared to “soften his stance and suggested the debate should be shelved” until after the ’18 World Cup in Russia (LONDON TIMES, 1/21).
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