EPL Chair Richards Believes Qatar World Cup Will Be Played In Winter Due To Searing Heat
EPL Chair Dave Richards has called on FIFA "to decide whether the Qatar 2022 World Cup finals will be staged in the winter so that professional leagues have time to accommodate them in busy fixture lists," according to Ashling O'Connor of the LONDON TIMES. Richards, who will step down at the end of the season after 13 years in the job, said that the big European leagues would "initially be 'up in arms' over any proposal to switch the tournament to the winter months." However, he added that he "believed it would ultimately happen." Richards: "For us (the Premier League), at this minute, the answer is no. But if you take the proper view that we may have to find a way where we have a winter period where we don't play, I think common sense will prevail over time." He added, "It can't be summer. They're saying all the stadiums are going to be airconditioned but what about the fans? Where are they going to go? They can't lay on the beach because they'll get scorched." Richards' comments followed a statement by UEFA President Michel Platini which said that the World Cup final "should be staged in the winter to protect players and fans from the searing desert heat" (LONDON TIMES, 3/20). Richards: "I think they will play (the World Cup) at a time that is proper for football but they will have to speak to the leagues in Europe. They will have to agree [to] proper times when we can start and finish." In London, Robin Scott-Elliot notes the EPL responded with a statement which read, “The Premier League’s view remains unchanged. We are opposed to the concept of a winter World Cup for very obvious practical reasons that would impact on all of European domestic football" (INDEPENDENT.co.uk, 3/19).