UEFA members say 'impossible' to have summer 2022 World Cup

Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:30am EDT

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(Reuters) - European football federations have agreed it would be "impossible" to stage the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in summer as planned and a task force will be set up to find an alternative.

"Obviously there are certain reservations regarding the World Cup in Qatar but everyone agrees that it would be impossible to play in the severe heat of Qatar in the summer," FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce told Sky television.

"It is very important that we get this right," he added, speaking in a phone interview after a meeting of the 54 European football federations in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

"They all agree that to play the World Cup, to take thousands of fans to the biggest sporting event in the middle of summer would be impossible."

FIFA is expected to agree in principle to the switch at its next executive committee meeting in October.

"It is very important that we get this right," added Boyce.

"I think what will happen is that they will probably agree for everyone, including the people in Qatar of course, to sit round a table and come up with a solution.

"What has happened has happened. It is in Qatar and at the end of the day what has to happen here is that the best interests of football are sorted out and I am confident that will happen. It is purely a one-off."

Last week, the association representing European clubs said they would not be opposed to a re-scheduling of the tournament but added they wanted to be consulted about the new timing.

Qatar has said, despite the searing temperatures, it can stage the World Cup in the summer by building air-conditioned stadiums using newly environmentally-friendly technology. Stadiums would be cooled to around 28 Celsius.

However, there are still worries about how fans will deal with the heat away from the stadiums.

In recent interviews, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said that his organization had never specially stated that the World Cup had to be held in summer when it awarded the hosting of the tournament in 2010.

His comments came after suggestions that the other countries bidding for the tournament could take legal action, or call for a re-vote, if the timing of the tournament was changed.

On Tuesday, Australia's soccer chief Frank Lowy warned FIFA not to rush a decision on switching the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to the northern hemisphere winter and said other bidders should be compensated if the move goes ahead.

Japan, South Korea and the United States, which itself suffers from scorching summer weather in many parts of the country, lost out in the race to host the event.

Re-scheduling would force a change of the European domestic calendar and clubs and leagues fear they could lose out financially.

UEFA president Michel Platini, who has publicly said he voted for Qatar, is among those in favor of a change, suggesting that January-February would be the best time.

However, this could clash with the Winter Olympics, also to be staged in 2022.

(Reporting by Clare Fallon; Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by Alison Wildey)

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Comments (1)
kingkong9000 wrote:
After numerous excuses and debates, this fiasco has only two major issues. Firstly, the promises made by the UEFA head and secondly, working conditions of the workers.

The situation now is a mess. Taking away Qatar’s right abruptly will make the situation even worse.

Should there be no cheating before the bid, moving to winter may not anger so many and be as difficult now.

The more reasonable solution is to rebid. It didn’t make sense months ago but, now, it has to be reconsidered. However, bid again for a winter or summer World Cup again?

Bid again for a winter one is not sensible because almost every stakeholder objects now. No matter which candidate (Australia, Korea, Japan, Qatar or USA) is to win the rebid, FIFA faces the same set of unsolvable problems (Olympics, TV broadcasting rights, turmoil of all leagues etc).

Rebidding for a summer world cup was regard as repeating the same mistake months ago. However, as the issue progresses, there are new rationales come into the play. Firstly, one of the main problems is the hidden promise of switching to winter made by the UEFA head before the bid. However, in the new rebid all the ExCo members know the backgrounds and the trustworthiness of the ability of the air-conditioning systems to overcome the heat (including the advertised ‘artificial clouds’ etc). Secondly, some FIFA officials interpret that the bidding contract had the timing opened for FIFA to select/confirm “in principle”. This makes controversy and, luckily, this controversial ambiguity lays the rationale for FIFA to have a rebid on the 2022 World Cup hosting right legally, rationally and, perhaps, emphatically.

Based on the above, FIFA should, for this time, open a rebid with clear and not changeable timing of “hosting in summer of northern hemisphere”.

Rebidding is the best solution to get out of this mess. It is fair to Qatar because they had a secret deal but not this time. If Qatar refuse to join the rebid, then it may mean that they have no confidence in overcoming the heat with their proposed air-conditioning and weather solutions.

Another twist is that Qatar applies for an injunction to stop a rebid. Should this be the case, there are only two folds. Either, they want to keep the hosting right in summer. Or, they want a winter tournament. It will be a big relaxation for the European clubs and leagues if Qatar wants a summer game. On the other hand, probably, Qatar will not opt for an injunction based on the notion of moving to winter because that would mean they have no confidence in overcoming the heat problem again. If they cannot overcome the heat, FIFA can legally take off their hosting right.
If Qatar wins again, then congratulate. No more change again, just wait for the progress of the air-conditioning systems.

As for the poor working condition, it is not unique and unsolvable. Basically, FIFA just have to, in collaboration with the ITUC and other international labour right organizations, force and enforce Qatar companies to provide better facilities and working conditions to the works. It may cost them more, but Qatar is so rich that they surely can afford.

In conclusion, set up a new rebidding process which is strictly no change to winter.

Sep 25, 2013 2:16am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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