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SBD Global/July 19, 2013/International Football

FIFA President Schedules Meeting To Discuss Holding '22 Qatar World Cup In Winter

FIFA President Sepp Blatter said the Qatar World Cup can be held in summer.
FIFA has announced that its exec committee will convene in October to "discuss the issue of playing the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in the winter," according to the PA. FIFA President Sepp Blatter on Wednesday "confronted the issue of playing in the searing June heat of Qatar by stating he believed it could not take place in the summer." A FIFA spokesperson said, "As mentioned by the FIFA president yesterday, he will bring forward the matter of playing the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar in winter to the FIFA executive committee on the occasion of their next meeting scheduled for October 3-4" (PA, 7/18).

PREMIER LEAGUE UPSET: The PA also reported the Premier League on Thursday "blasted proposals to move the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to the winter as neither workable nor desirable." The Premier League has long opposed any such move because it will "cause major disruption to three domestic seasons -- the 2021-22 campaign and the ones either side -- as well as impacting on broadcasting contracts" (PA, 7/18). In a separate story, the PA reported a Premier League spokesperson said, "The Premier League position remains unchanged. The prospect of a winter World Cup is neither workable nor desirable for European domestic football" (PA, 7/18).

BLATTER QUESTIONS BRAZIL: The AP reported Blatter said that Brazil "might have been the wrong choice as host of the 2014 World Cup if the tournament is affected by similar social protests as at last month's Confederation's Cup." Blatter: "If this happens again we have to question whether we made the wrong decision awarding the hosting rights." FIFA spoke with the Brazilian government after the Confederations Cup, and Blatter said that he will "discuss the issue again with Brazil President Dilma Rousseff in September." Blatter said, "To me, these protests were like alarm bells for the government, the senate, the parliament. They should work on it so that this is not going to happen again" (AP, 7/17). ESPN's Tim Vickery opined Rousseff had "negotiating room -- more resources for public transport, health and education, and proposals for a reform process aimed at stiffer punishments for corrupt politicians." But on the 2014 World Cup, "she had little to offer." The mistakes "have been made and the money has been spent." It has been obvious for some time that "the 2014 World Cup was going to cost Brazilian society more than it should, and give back less." The "bungling of the 2014 World Cup is a domestic story, one of twisted priorities and poor and arrogant administration." The fact that Brazil was awarded the World Cup unopposed "opened up the door to a host of local defects." There was a "lack of debate, society blatantly misled with the claim that all money spent on stadiums would be private, leaving public resources for infra-structure projects" (ESPN, 7/18).

BRAZIL RESPONDS: EMOL reported Brazil rejected the claims made by Blatter, who said that "it could have been an error choosing Brazil as the 2014 World Cup host." Brazil's Sports Ministry said in a statement that Brazil "is a democratic country that respects its citizens' freedom of expression. The success of the Confederation's Cup verifies the choice of Brazil as the host of the World Cup" (EMOL, 7/18).

BRAZIL CONGRESS INVESTIGATES: ESPN reported Brazilian Congress is to investigate the amount being spent on the 2014 World Cup "following the protests which marred the recent Confederations Cup." Protests and rioting "took place throughout the tournament against the spending on stadiums ahead of next year's competition." Brazil's government is projecting that $13.3B will "be spent on stadiums, airport renovations and other projects for the World Cup and 2016 Olympics," with an estimated $3.5B on venues. Brazilian Senator Alvaro Dias said, "In the wake of the protests, Congress must change its attitude and open this investigation demanded by the people. No doubt there will be major revelations" (ESPN, 7/18).
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