European Leagues, FIFA, Qatar On Collision Course Over 2022 Winter World Cup
Europe’s leading football leagues "have submitted an official protest" over proposals to hold the 2022 Qatar World Cup in the winter, but their objections "were ignored" by the home nations’ representative on the FIFA exec committee, according to Oliver Kay of the LONDON TIMES. The EPL, along with the top divisions in France, Germany, Italy and Spain, have sent their objections to FIFA under the banner of the Association of European Professional Football Leagues, whose Chair Frédéric Thiriez "signed the letter." FIFA Exec Committee VP Jim Boyce said in an interview with TalkSPORT that, while he could understand the leagues’ concerns, a winter World Cup "was the only option in 2022 due to the oppressive heat in Qatar in summer." Boyce: "I know the Qataris have said that they’re preparing to air-condition the stadiums, but how can you air-condition a country? Thousands of people will want to go and enjoy the World Cup as spectators. If we’re going to have a World Cup in Qatar, in my opinion it has to be played in winter, when the temperature will be more pleasant" (LONDON TIMES, 8/13). INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL's Matt Scott reported under Article 81 of the FIFA statutes, "changes to the International Match Calendar are in the gift of the executive committee." However, the statutes also stipulate that decisions must be taken "after conferring with the Confederations" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL 8/13).