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SBD Global/October 4, 2013/International Football
FIFA Delays Decision On 2022 World Cup Switch; Task Force To Analyze Winter Move
Published October 4, 2013
FOOTBALL FAMILY: BLOOMBERG's Ben Priechenfried reported European Club Association Chair Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said that FIFA "must include teams and players in any decision on rescheduling" the event. Rummenigge: "The fact that at the last World Cup 75 percent of all participant players were contracted in Europe is a fact that can’t be shifted away." Rummenigge said FIFA’s decision on the issue should involve the entire “footballing family” of clubs, leagues and players. Rummenigge: "We have to be sitting at the table when it comes to a final decision. We want to avoid a decision that will cause too much impact on the leagues and the clubs" (BLOOMBERG, 10/3). The PA reported FIFA spokesperson Walter De Gregorio "has moved to end that debate before it gathers momentum." When asked if it would be played in Qatar, De Gregorio said, "No doubt. What is open to question is if we play in winter, and if so is it November, December, January, I don't know. ... But there is no doubt we will play in Qatar" (PA SPORT 10/3).
QATAR HAPPY: REUTERS' Brian Homewood reported Qatar "is happy to accommodate a change in the dates" for the World Cup, while insisting that "it can still stage the tournament in summer." Qatar said that it was "researching and developing cooling technologies" which could be used "in our stadiums, training pitches, fan zones and public areas." However, the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee said on Wednesday that it "would not object to a move away from the originally scheduled summer tournament if asked." The committee said in a statement, "If the international football community reaches a consensus to move the event to an alternate date, we are able to accommodate that change" (REUTERS, 10/3). In London, Roger Blitz reported construction worries about next year’s World Cup in Brazil "should be uppermost for the game’s governing body, but it is the tournament still nine years away that is proving just as troublesome." The Qatar World Cup saga "is an almighty mess" for FIFA. Friday’s meeting "will also weigh up allegations about the exploitation of migrant workers and the death toll on construction projects related to the competition." Canceling its World Cup "is an unlikely outcome." There "may be compensation claims to face by rescheduling the tournament," from the U.S. and other losing bidders, including Australia and Japan, who would argue that "the bidding competition stipulated a June event." However, it would "be a small price to pay compared to incurring the wrath of Qatar," whose investment in football, through clubs such as Paris St. Germain and Barcelona, "is substantial and growing." Moreover, the U.S. "may conclude it is not worth jeopardising its own strategic relations with Qatar for the sake of a football tournament" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 10/3).