FFE Magazine

Organisers, clubs disagree over World Cup date

by FFE EU News staff

Disagreements over the 2022 World Cup have mired international governing bodies and local European football clubs.

Qatar is slated to host the 2022 competition on the traditional June and July months. However, concerns over the country’s summer temperatures, which could reach 50C, have made Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) insist a shift to January and February, where temperatures average at mid-20. FIFA is the global governing body for men’s football.

Meanwhile, European football clubs have flagged concerns over the plan to shift the World Cup to winter.

Bayern Munich boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, head of the European Club Association, revealed that there was unrest among its 214 member teams after calls for the shift came out. FIFA’s plan has been backed by the Union of European Football Association (UEFA), the international body governing football in Europe and parts of Asia.

Rummenigge said “We would like to be involved in the decision-making process on a serious and high level.”

“Because it is, of course, impacting our business, so we want to have the guarantee that we will be involved in the decision-making process.”

FIFA president Sepp Blatter argued that it was not rational to play in Qatar in the summer regardless of enough technology for cooler venues. But European nations, particularly England, are not keen to the idea of holding the competition in winter. They said the change would disrupt domestic leagues. In addition to that it also undermines Qatar’s bid to host the games in their original dates, which are from June to July.

In the past, World Cups hosted by countries in the southern hemisphere still followed northern hemisphere summer dates. The 2010 South Africa Cup was often chilly. But Rummenigge argued that heat was part and parcel of football, recalling the 1986 final in Mexico.

Blatter insists that the June-July dates are not set in stone, and that rescheduling will add to football’s global appeal by showing that anyone can host the competition.

Qatar will be the first Arab country to host the World Cup.

Rummenigge said Qatar was a surprising choice, but that “the policy of FIFA was always to bring the World Cup to different continents.” He said that European football understood they were not alone, saying “Of course we need a global solution, not just a solution for Europe.”

“That’s why we have to be sensible to find the best solution.”

UEFA head Michel Platini last month slapped down the English Premier League’s motion to move the location rather than shift to winter. UEFA will discuss the issue next week but Blatter wants it at session with FIFA executives by October. Rummenigge however said that things should not be rushed.

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