Blatter Admits Qatar World Cup A Mistake, Supports Moving Event To Winter
FIFA President Sepp Blatter has "admitted that it 'may well be that we made a mistake' in awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar but underlined his commitment to move the tournament to the winter to avoid the searing summer heat," according to Owen Gibson of the GUARDIAN. Blatter has "swung from saying that it was for the Qatari World Cup organisers to insist on a switch from summer," to proposing a vote when the FIFA exec board meets Oct. 3-4 on "a move in principle." Moving the tournament to winter has "huge implications for the professional leagues throughout Europe, for broadcasters and for other sports." The EPL remains "implacably opposed to moving the tournament to winter but fears that opposition from other leagues in Europe is softening." Sources said that it was "most likely that the tournament would be played in November and December 2022 rather than January and February of that year in order to avoid clashing with the 2022 Winter Olympics" (GUARDIAN, 9/10). NBCSPORTS.com's Richard Farley wrote this is the "first time the M-word has passed the lips of the most powerful man in world soccer." That Blatter is acknowledging FIFA "may have screwed up may clear the way to finally correcting the problem, potentially providing long-term solutions for when climate forces World Cups to shift seasons." Committing the World Cup to "any specific time of the year precludes a number of nations from hosting the event" (NBCSPORTS.com, 9/9).