Top clubs set to OK Qatar 2022 switch

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Europe’s top football clubs are set to green light a proposed switch in the 2022 Qatar World Cup from summer to winter, it was reported, but only if they receive assurances that the change is a one-off.

The European Clubs’ Association (ECA) is to meet today in Switzerland for talks over moving the tournament due to extreme temperatures in the Gulf state, with bosses at the continent’s top sides said to be resigned to the change.

Any move in the event to the winter would be hugely disruptive to Europe’s domestic football leagues, which typically have a hectic playing schedule around that time.

“I have a personal opinion that it is almost inevitable. We will have to find a solution because it is very unlikely that you can play the World Cup in Qatar in the summer,” ECA senior vice president Umberto Gandini told Press Association Sport. “I think it’s important it’s going to be a one-off and is not going to something that’s going to be there forever.”

Gandini added that the World Cup would be “impossible” for fans to follow during Qatar’s summer heat, where temperatures soar up to 50 degrees Celsius. “Now it is a matter of studying the possible solutions and we will have to do it.”

Earlier this week FIFA president Sepp Blatter admitted that a mistake may have been made when the 2022 World Cup was awarded to Qatar in 2010.

In an interview published on Monday, Blatter defended his decision that the tournament should be played in the winter when it is held in the Gulf state.

Asked whether FIFA already knew that a summer World Cup would be impossible when it awarded the tournament on December 10 2010, Blatter said: "That may well be so, and it may well be that we made a mistake at the time. On the other hand, you must also consider political and geo-political realities."

He added that while the switch would inconvenience the major European leagues, it was "high time that Europe starts to understand that we do not rule the world anymore, and that some former European imperial powers can no longer impress their will on to others in faraway places".

He said in comments published by insideworldfootball.com: "We must accept that football has moved away from being a European and South American sport: it has become the World Sport that billions of fans are excitedly following every week, everywhere in the world."

"The loudest critics, the ones who should know better because they signed the exact same bidding documents as Qatar did... must know that point 1.2.1 stipulates that the 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup is 'scheduled to take place' in June and/or July 'in principle'," he was quoted as saying.

"It does not say that it 'must' take place in these months, nor is it a 'condition sine qua non' to host the World Cup in June and July. What the document does is express FIFA's wish to host the World Cup in June or July," he added.

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Posted by: King Kong

Firstly, it is the 'scheduled to take place' and secondly the 'in principle'. It is suspected that these two phrase are inserted. Should these two phrases be removed, then the saying in the document would be: "...point 1.2.1. stipulates that the 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup is in June and/or July of 2022.
If really the document is written with the phrase "in principle", then why should there be any mistake that Blatter has admitted. Is this again a lie to cover another lie?

Posted by: King Kong

If only Qatar can hold a one-off winter world cup, then FIFA discriminates against many other countries, especially Australia which had asked for a winter World Cup but refused by FIFA.

Posted by: Mick

I was all for moving it out of Qatar but, the more that I think about it, I believe that this could be a good beta test for the competition that if it does work out and the month long disruption is just an extended international break and they can provide a decent workaround (ending the seasons of each league a little bit later, start earlier (something that I'd be happy for since time between premier league matches are tough times) it could work for other countries facing the same issues as Qatar if this works out. My only concern is for players to come out of World Cup and into their respective leagues, injured. They wouldnt have the balance of a summer to recuperate and train. Now, the only issue would be how they would handle the conservative nature of the country as it pertains to an extremely non-conservative crowd that makes up the bulk of the fans. World Cup goers will not tolerate intolerance, if that makes sense. A hosting country is just a host and doesn't own the game.

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