FA Chair Greg Dyke Shifts Organization's Stance On 2022 Winter World Cup
New FA Chair Greg Dyke said that "it was unfeasible" that the 2022 World Cup could be played in Qatar’s summer months, "laying down an immediate challenge" to FIFA to switch the tournament to the winter, according to Sam Wallace of the London INDEPENDENT. Dyke made his first public appearance as FA chairman Sunday at the Community Shield in London, "having spent the last two months getting to know his new organisation." However, he "has been unequivocal about one of the biggest issues in world football, the award of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, to be played in the summer when temperatures rise above 40C in the Gulf nation." Dyke’s predecessor, David Bernstein, also described that option in June as "fundamentally flawed," on the basis that Qatar’s bid had been to stage a summer World Cup (INDEPENDENT, 8/10). Dyke said, "I don’t know how many people have been to Qatar in June. I have. The one thing I can tell you is you can’t play a football tournament in Qatar in June. Even if all the stadia are air-conditioned, which seems a little strange in terms of the green policy, it would be impossible for the fans. Just go out there and try wandering around in that sort of heat." He added, "The FA’s position will be that you can’t play it in summer in Qatar. FIFA therefore has two choices: either you move it in time or you move it to another location. I suspect either ends up in some sort of litigation, but then someone should have worked that out in 2010, when it was awarded" (LONDON TIMES, 8/10).
TIME TO SPARE: The PA reported FIFA VP Jim Boyce has told the Premier League that "it would have more than enough time to prepare for a winter World Cup in Qatar." However, Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore said that "a switch would have a three-year knock-on effect for his competition." Boyce said, "I fully understand the Premier League, but I would hope that in nine years' time, for the good of football, people can sit down and realise a sensible decision has to be made. Most of the opposition appears to be coming from the Premier League. There are many European countries who cannot play in the winter and do have a winter break" (GUARDIAN, 8/11).
QATAR HITS BACK: The SHANGHAI DAILY wrote "insisting they deserve the chance to stage the World Cup," Qatar’s football leaders "hit back at their English counterparts for suggesting that FIFA consider taking the 2022 tournament away from the desert nation." Dyke incensed the Qataris by arguing that "the heat in the tiny emirate could be 'very dangerous.'" The Qatar World Cup supreme committee said in a statement, "Football is the most popular sport in the Middle East and the people of our region deserve the opportunity to have history made in their part of the world" (SHANGHAI DAILY, 8/11).