Executive committee meeting to discuss moving the tournament to winter, slave labour allegations
The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is expected to be a hot topic of discussion at a two-day executive committee meeting of football’s world governing body FIFA on Thursday and Friday.
Whether to reschedule the tournament from summer to winter has been formally added to the meeting’s agenda, while recently emerged reports of slave labour and construction worker deaths in the Gulf state also may be added to the list of topics, or at least discussed on the sidelines.
A push to move the tournament from the searing summer heat of June-July to winter has gained traction this year but this will be the first time FIFA’s executives have formally discussed the issue.
It appears increasingly likely the event will be delayed until November. Hosting it earlier in the year would see it clash with the Winter Olympic Games.
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach revealed on Sunday he had received an assurance from FIFA that the football tournament would not clash with the Games.
"So far we have heard the proposal by the FIFA president to have it in November 2022, and there would be no clash whatsoever," Bach told BBC Radio 5.
"I'm not worried at all [about a clash with the Winter Olympics]. What I know is that I spoke with president Blatter about this proposal - [to host the World Cup in] November - and there would be no conflict at all.”
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has publicly declared his support for rescheduling the Qatar World Cup.
In May he said it would not be "rational and reasonable" to hold it in the summer.
Despite Qatar’s promise to build state-of-the-art air-conditioned stadiums to beat the 50-degree celsius heat, he said the cooling technology only resolved the problem in venues and not other associated activities that affected fans.
However, moving the showdown is likely to attract legal action from countries that lost the bid to host the 2022 Cup, broadcasters, sponsors and professional leagues impacted by the date change.
Australia’s football association already has said it would sue FIFA for the $43m it spent on its failed bid, claiming rescheduling Qatar’s event was akin to moving the goal posts or changing the rules.
Meanwhile, the head of European football, Michael Platini, said on Wednesday the debate over the timing of the Qatar Cup should be sidelined to discuss allegations of the use of slave labour in Qatar.
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) claims 4000 labourers, mostly from South Asia and Africa, could die during the construction of stadiums and associated infrastructure for the World Cup.
The union’s figure is based on a revelation revealed last month that 44 Nepalese workers died on World Cup construction sites during summer this year.