Sepp Blatter: Still time for 2022 Qatar World Cup winter switch

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The head of world football’s governing body is planning discussions over the change with his executive committee.

The Premier League are opposed to the move as it would cause major disruption to league fixtures.

Blatter said: “The executive committee will certainly follow my proposal. Then we will have dealt with it for good.”

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“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.”

A Premier League Spokesman

“We still have enough time,” he added.

Blatter will hold talks with Fifa’s executive committee in October about a change prompted by medical evidence highlighting the dangers of playing games in temperatures that average 40C in June and can reach 50C.

The heat dips to an average of 20C during the winter months.

The host nation is planning to play games in air-conditioned stadiums.

But Blatter said: “The Fifa World Cup must be a festival of the people. But for it to be such a festival, you can’t play football in the summer.

“You can cool down the stadiums but you can’t cool down the whole country and you can’t simply cool down the ambience of a World Cup. The players must be able to play in the best conditions to play a good World Cup.”

Moving the World Cup to the winter would significantly impact on the European leagues.

Blatter insists it would only affect one season but the Premier League fear fixtures could be disrupted across Europe for three seasons

“The Premier League’s view remains unchanged,” a spokesman said. “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.”

The Football Association are believed to be concerned about the upheaval that would be required to domestic leagues to accommodate the switch.

But Mark Perryman, of the London England Supporters group, told the BBC his personal view was that a change to the timing of the World Cup should be welcomed.

He said: “It is high time we recognise that football is a world game.

“Half the world in the southern hemisphere are effectively forced to play the World Cup in the middle of their season so why is there so much upset in European nations when they are expected to do the same?

“A lot of the Nordic and East European countries do not play in the winter because of the weather so this would not affect their own leagues.

“So this is a rather Anglo-centric view that is being taken. There is a long time to go until the tournament so why can’t we reorganise our season to allow a winter World Cup?”

Uefa president Michel Platini has previously stated he is willing to move European club competitions to enable the tournament to be held in winter.

He said: “If we play in winter, [it is] not a problem to organise it.”

The head of Qatar’s organising committee, Hassan Al-Thawadi, says his country would be willing to change their plans.

Sepp BlatterSepp Blatter believes there is still time to switch the 2022 World Cup to winter

“If it’s a wish of the football community to have the World Cup in winter, then we are open to that,” he said.

Blatter had said in February 2011 that “everything is settled for summer”, when asked about the potential for switching the tournament to the winter.

But his change of heart followed medical information about the effects of the heat on players.

“There has been a fresh medical investigation into what it would be like to play football there in the summer and we have to take into account the health, not of the spectators, but of the players,” he told Sky Germany. 

Qatar defeated bids from South Korea, Japan, Australia and the United States to win a ballot of Fifa’s 22 executive members for the right to host the 2022 World Cup.

Meanwhile, Blatter said Brazil might be the wrong choice to host the 2014 World Cup if the tournament is affected by the wave of protests seen at the Confederations Cup last month.

Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets expressing their anger over the costs to stage the World Cup and demanding better public services.

“If this happens again we have to question whether we made the wrong decision awarding the hosting rights,” Blatter said.

“We didn’t do a political debriefing, but we did emphasise the fact of this social unrest being there for the entire duration of the Confederations Cup.

“The government is now aware that next year the World Cup shouldn’t be disturbed.”

He added: “It’s not we who have to learn lessons from the protests in Brazil; politics in Brazil have to do that.”

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Posted on July 18, 2013, in Football and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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