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SBD Global/September 16, 2013/International Football

Report Says Fox Won't Accept 2022 Winter World Cup After Paying $1B For Rights

It is "virtually certain" that FIFA will announce early next month that the 2022 World Cup cannot be staged in Qatar in the summer due to the "dangerously high temperatures," however industry sources said that it is "unimaginable" that U.S. broadcaster Fox would accept a switch to winter, according to Nick Harris of the London DAILY MAIL. Fox said that it agreed to pay £630M ($1B) for the "rights to screen the World Cup in the summers of 2018 and 2022, not in winter." Industry sources said that it is "'unimaginable' that they will accept a switch, not at that price." The "bombshell revelation highlights the enormous legal complexities ahead." Legally and contractually, Qatar is "obliged to stage a summer event that most agree they cannot now stage." But Qatar has "no legal or contractual right to stage a winter World Cup in 2022." A Fox spokesperson said, "Fox Sports bought the World Cup rights with the understanding they would be in the summer as they have been since the 1930s." Fox did not comment on "potential legal action if the 2022 event moves to winter," but a "network insider" said that Fox "will not countenance" a World Cup being "given prominence" on U.S. TV between October and December. Asked about TV contract problems and EPL "opposition to a winter switch," a FIFA spokesperson said, "The matter of the timing of the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be discussed in various ad hoc committees as well as the FIFA Executive Committee at the occasion of its next session" on Oct. 3-4 in Zurich. Until these meetings have taken place, "FIFA is in no position to make any further comments" (DAILY MAIL, 9/14).
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