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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Horne welcomes Vauxhall but questions Qatar World Cup

Football Association general secretary Alex Horne warned on Tuesday that moving the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar to the winter would be a “logistical nightmare” and admitted the prospect of staging the tournament in the tiny emirate has left him “in a cold sweat”.
Qatar beat the United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea in a vote by FIFA's executive committee last month, but concerns about the temperatures in the height of the summer have led to calls suggesting the tournament should be switched to the winter. However, Horne, speaking at an event to mark Vauxhall being unveiled as the England national team’s new main sponsor, suggested such a move for the World Cup would severely disrupt the European calendar.
“The notion of playing in Qatar just leaves me in a cold sweat at the moment,” he said, according to The Associated Press. “Preparing the teams for that environment, we don't know enough about what they are promising logistically in terms of training grounds, etc. It doesn't feel like a great experience for the fans, the whole thing is odd, let me just say that...I know it won't be easy.”
When asked about the possible rescheduling of the World Cup to the winter, Horne added: “It will do all sorts of odd things won't it, because you need to find nine or 10 weeks across the winter. It's going to split the season, and you'll need to start early or finish late. It's a logistical nightmare. Whether it's a good idea or not, I don't know.”
On Tuesday, Vauxhall was finally confirmed as the new main sponsor of the England national team after the Football Association (FA) unveiled a three-and-a-half-year deal with the car manufacturer. Vauxhall has replaced Nationwide, with the latter decided against extending an 11-year partnership with the FA. The new deal runs until July 31, 2014, a few days after the conclusion of the next FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
The announcement had been anticipated for some time, and the General Motors-owned company will become the lead partner to the men's senior national team as well as the other 23 representative England sides. “Everyone is aware of the difficulties of last year, but we have an opportunity to move forward and there is much in 2011 to be excited about,” said Horne. The automotive company is also expected to confirm deals with the football governing bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - which also lost Nationwide as a sponsor in July - and is keen to revive the defunct home international tournament in 2013.