FIFA could move Qatar World Cup to winter

Rob Harris Roar Rookie

By Rob Harris, Rob Harris is a Roar Rookie

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    FIFA conceded for the first time Saturday that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar could be moved to winter if medical evidence showed that playing in the intense summer heat would be dangerous.

    FIFA has previously insisted that Qatar would have to make the request to move the tournament, while the tiny emirate has placed responsibility on world football’s governing body to make the call.

    In a sign that the impasse could be ending, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke now says the executive committee could decide on the shift to winter if the June temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius are deemed dangerous.

    “Maybe the FIFA Ex-Co will say based on medical report or whatever we really have to look at playing the World Cup not in summer but in winter,” Valcke said.

    “As long as we have not fixed the international calendar, all alternatives are open,” he added.

    “It’s in 2022, nine years and we have two World Cups to organise in Brazil and Russia. So there is some time.”

    Valcke is sure that moving the tournament would not open up FIFA to legal challenges from the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia, who lost out to Qatar in the 2010 vote.

    “Would you think we would open a discussion if we are not sure there would be no legal challenge to do so?” Valcke asked.

    While Qatar unexpectedly landed the 2022 showpiece tournament with plans for air-conditioned stadiums, FIFA President Sepp Blatter has acknowledged that the team’s supporters could struggle to cope with the heat away from the venues in June.

    UEFA President Michel Platini has advocated taking decisive action and moving the Qatar tournament to the cooler winter months, telling German newspaper Bild on Saturday that the summer heat would be “unbearable” for fans and players.

    But the European football chief’s view is opposed by Jeffrey Webb, president of CONCACAF, which governs football in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

    “Historically, the World Cup is always played in June and I would definitely like the World Cup to be played in June, we accepted it,” Webb said. “We went through a long process regarding that.”

    Moving the World Cup to winter would punch a hole in the European club season as it now stands, with the Premier League firmly opposed to their competition being split in 2022.

    “As long as we have not fixed the international calendar (for 2019 to ’22) all alternatives are open,” Valcke said.

    “The most important thing is to make sure (we) work with all stakeholders and make sure there is full agreement with all parties, leagues, clubs, and we would have to find eight weeks in the mid-season to play the World Cup,” he added after a meeting of football’s rule-makers in the Scottish capital Edinburgh.

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    The Crowd Says (26)

    • March 3rd 2013 @ 9:00am
      Bondy said | March 3rd 2013 @ 9:00am | ! Report

      I thought they were always going to do this ,theres no great revelation as far as i’m concerned.

    • Roar Guru

      March 3rd 2013 @ 9:07am
      Cappuccino said | March 3rd 2013 @ 9:07am | ! Report

      Qatar world cup is going to be a farce no matter what…

    • Roar Pro

      March 3rd 2013 @ 9:55am
      albatross said | March 3rd 2013 @ 9:55am | ! Report

      It’s “…Sepp Blatter has acknowledged that the teams’ supporters could…”

      Won’t somebody think of the children?

      • March 3rd 2013 @ 10:35am
        Professor Rosseforp said | March 3rd 2013 @ 10:35am | ! Report

        Good call from the Apostrophe Police, Albatross! However the real howler in the sentence is Sepp Blatter’s acknowledging that he might be wrong … that would never happen

    • March 3rd 2013 @ 1:39pm
      Backheeler said | March 3rd 2013 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

      This entire process has been a farce from day one.

    • March 3rd 2013 @ 1:43pm
      Ahmed said | March 3rd 2013 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

      And we were told there was no chance of moving it to accommodate the seasons of Australias two largest sport competitions.

      Perhaps the next bid the FFA put in should be based on the precedent of a Qatar WC being played during the traditional season of the European leagues. Would make it much much easier for negotiations regarding stadium use and possibly mean that soccer comes out of it with some purpose built stadiums.

      • Roar Guru

        March 3rd 2013 @ 2:14pm
        Fussball ist unser leben said | March 3rd 2013 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

        FIFA are considering moving to Winter, it if it poses serious health risk for players – seems like a reasonable reason.

        How does the AFL or NRL season have any impact on the health & well-being of the world’s footballers?

        • March 3rd 2013 @ 2:43pm
          Ahmed said | March 3rd 2013 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

          The precedent is that it is possible to play the tournament outside of the traditional time (outside of the EPL/Serie A seasons etc).

          As it stood, the AFL and NRL seasons would have been affected immensely in terms of ground access which in turn would have affected crowd numbers, TV audience, and overall sponsorship …. to briefly outline the affects.

          Having the FIFA World Cup during Australian summer would make it substantially easier to organise. Will be interesting to how this turns out and if it sets a precedent.

          Also, as you pointed out in a different thread. No-one comes to Australia during the winter, theyd much rather spend their summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

          • Roar Guru

            March 3rd 2013 @ 2:53pm
            Fussball ist unser leben said | March 3rd 2013 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

            Fair point that a summer world cup would be preferable in the Southern Hemisphere – I see that as a 100% legitimate argument to run past FIFA.

            But, an argument based on potentially distrupting a couple of local sporting competitions … you’re having a laugh?! 😀

            • March 3rd 2013 @ 3:01pm
              Reynoldsinski said | March 3rd 2013 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

              Its not so much about disrupting the local sporting competitions, its about stadiums being available.

            • March 3rd 2013 @ 3:11pm
              Ahmed said | March 3rd 2013 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

              Either you’re avin’ ah laaf or simply don’t understand the extent to which the AFL/NRL are ingrained in Australian society and the financial size of the competitions.

              • March 4th 2013 @ 11:02am
                nordster said | March 4th 2013 @ 11:02am | ! Report

                You’re havin a larf if u think fifa or the world should care…

          • March 3rd 2013 @ 3:19pm
            Bondy said | March 3rd 2013 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

            You could’ve run while the cup was on you dont play that frequently,not enough to disturb us .

            • March 3rd 2013 @ 3:36pm
              Reynoldsinski said | March 3rd 2013 @ 3:36pm | ! Report

              It’s a situation that won’t occur anyway Bondy. I can’t see the FFA bidding for a world cup again, unless the AFL give their approval, and that is probably not going to happen.

              • March 3rd 2013 @ 4:00pm
                Bondy said | March 3rd 2013 @ 4:00pm | ! Report

                Is that how you garner support for your game, you get on here because nobodys on the afl tab and force people to like your sport and then get told what we can and cant do until its approved by aussie rules,how far do you think that form of attitude will get you internationally.

                We dont force our sport on people they play it not watch it.

              • March 3rd 2013 @ 4:24pm
                Mango Jack said | March 3rd 2013 @ 4:24pm | ! Report

                I think it relies more on fed governermnt funding another bid, which is not going to happen any time soon, after the last debacle.

      • March 3rd 2013 @ 2:27pm
        Reynoldsinski said | March 3rd 2013 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

        Good point Ahmed. If they end up moving it for Qatar, then there is no reason why they could not move it for Australia, if we are ever fortunate enough to get it.

        • Roar Guru

          March 3rd 2013 @ 2:31pm
          Fussball ist unser leben said | March 3rd 2013 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

          @Reynoldsinski

          I can only assume you have you never been involved in Proposals to win any major commercial contract?

    • March 3rd 2013 @ 1:51pm
      Johnno said | March 3rd 2013 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

      I sill have no issues with Qatar hosting the world cup, good for world football the middle east gets to host a world cup, modern place it will be good. Just move it too cooler tine of year, and stuff the greedy European clubs, all they think about is making money , there greedy .

      • March 3rd 2013 @ 5:16pm
        James said | March 3rd 2013 @ 5:16pm | ! Report

        Rubbish. The hosting agreement was based on a June date and the fact that Qatar was going to deal with the heat with some crap story about air conditioning the stadiums – statement from the bid chairman “the event has to be organized in June or July. We will have to take the help of technology to counter the harsh weather. We have already set in motion the process. A stadium with controlled temperature is the answer to the problem. We have other plans up our sleeves as well”

        The choice of Qatar was clearly farcical from the start. It has minimal infrastructure, a small population, very under performing team (ranked about 100th in the world) and has the heat issue.

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