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Thursday, January 13, 2011

2022 World Cup should avoid overlap with Winter Olympics

By Andreas Schirmer Jan 12, 2011, 12:34 GMT

Lausanne, Switzerland - The 2022 football World Cup in Qatar should take place at the end of the year to avoid an overlap with the Winter Olympics International Olympic Committee vice-president Thomas Bach said.
Bach told the German Press Agency dpa at IOC executive board meetings which started on Wednesday that both showcase events would profit from such a scenario if the ruling football body FIFA decides to move the World Cup from its summer slot.
'I believe this can be solved in a good way. There could be a win-win situation if the football World Cup is played in November and December 2022 and the Winter Games take place as usual in February,' Bach said.
Bach said he expects FIFA to find a solution together with the IOC as FIFA can have no interest in a collision of the two events in case the World Cup is played in early 2022.
FIFA president Joseph Blatter recently joined a growing number of members from the football community in suggesting to stage the World Cup outside its traditional June/July slot due to intense heat at the time in Qatar. A January/February date has been mentioned.
Such a cooperation between the two powerful sports bodies could also ease recent tensions.
Blatter, himself an IOC member, said last week the IOC was 'a club' with no tranparancy and handled its financial affairs 'like a housewife.'
The IOC dismissed the criticism and Bach said that 'everyone knows that IOC finances are transparent and are checked by external auditors.'
The IOC ethics committee is currently looking into whether its members Issa Hayatou and Joao Havelange received kickbacks in the past from FIFA's former marketing partners in the 1990s.
Hayatou is African football boss, Havelange a former FIFA president and longest-serving IOC member since 1964.
IOC president Jacques Rogge said last week that the IOC is yet to receive evidence on the issue from the BBC which alleged that FIFA top officials received kickbacks.
The issue, as well as the suspension of FIFA executives who were allegedly ready to sell their votes, overshadowed the controversial election last month of Russia to host the 2018 World Cup and Qatar to stage the 2022 edition.
These negative headlines, or those around the latest doping probe in Spain, are not good for sport but can not be fully avoided, according to Bach.
'Of course every (negative) headline is one too many, you would love a perfect world. But the public knows that sport is a part of society and not spared from negative experiences,' said Bach.
Bach said that the IOC has imposed strict rules after the Salt Lake City bribes for votes scandal, but he did not want to say whether other sports federations have learnt the lesson as well.
'You know that rules exist. This applies for the issue of doping and the issue of manipulation,' Bach said.