Search Engine

Monday, January 10, 2011

Fifa president Sepp Blatter insists 2022 World Cup in Qatar can only work in winter time

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is likely to be a winter tournament after Fifa president Sepp Blatter gave the clearest indication yet that the tournament would be moved. He said on Friday that he “expects” it to be staged in January or December rather than the June-July slot promised in Qatar’s bid.

Sepp Blatter 'expects 2022 World Cup in Qatar to be held in winter'
Winter wonderland: Sepp Blatter says Qatar could stage 2022 in winter Photo: REUTERS
“I expect it will be held in the winter,” Blatter said. “We have time to look at this question, it is still 11 years away but we must decide the most adequate period for a successful World Cup, which means January or December, the end of the year.”
Such a shift would prompt huge disruption of the global sporting calendar, and Blatter’s comments raise questions about Qatar’s bid and the motivation of the Fifa executive committee members who voted for it despite manifest issues with the summer climate.
Moving to winter would have huge implications for European football, which would be disrupted for at least three seasons, and a host of other sports that rely on the predictability of the calendar for their viability. Sponsorship and broadcast deals would be impacted in all sports affected.
Premier League sources said on Friday that they had “grave reservations” about the potential disruption and the lack of consultation prior to the World Cup vote. Fifa will also face opposition from other professional leagues in Europe that will be disrupted to create the eight or nine-week midseason window required.