Decision to Move 2022 World Cup to Winter Still Up in the Air
A final decision on the dates for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar won't be made until at least next summer, when the 2014 World Cup takes place in Brazil. FIFA wants to go through a consultation process before committing to a winter switch.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced the update on Twitter:
The ExCo decided to launch a consultation process among main stakeholders for Qatar 2022 dates. No decision will be taken before 2014WC.— Joseph S Blatter (@SeppBlatter) October 4, 2013
Brian Homewood of Reuters reports serious concerns remain about the viability of having the tournament take place in the heat of a Qatar summer, despite the country saying the plan was bolstered by air-conditioned stadiums:
Blatter said in July that he would propose a move to a cooler time of year and that he expected the executive committee to agree with him.
European soccer's governing body UEFA agreed last month that the World Cup should be moved, with all 54 member associations backing the proposal.
Although Blatter did receive that high-profile support from UEFA, other parties—including European clubs—haven't been so quick to jump aboard the bandwagon. Therefore, FIFA will use the consultation process to determine the best option and ease any lingering concerns.
When should the 2022 World Cup be played?
One of the biggest issues is how the scheduling would impact club campaigns. A winter World Cup would create an extended break in the middle of the club season, forcing a complete overhaul of schedules so players could participate.
Yet the extreme heat in Qatar leaves very few options. The Reuters report states April is being viewed as an alternative option, along with January and February or November and December. However, there isn't a perfect answer.
Rob Harris of the Associated Press provided further comment from Blatter, who continues to believe staging the event in the summer would be an uphill battle:
Blatter on 2022 Qatar World Cup "mistake": "The mistake is to think we could play this competition easily in the summer time"— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) October 4, 2013
Meanwhile, Dan Roan of the BBC reports that changing the dates of the World Cup is all but inevitable, per FIFA's Head of Communications:
Just interviewed FIFA's Head of Communications. Asked him if today means that the '22 World Cup will be rescheduled. "Basically, yes"— Dan Roan (@danroan) October 4, 2013
No matter what FIFA ultimately decides, certain groups are going to remain unhappy with the choice. Obviously, safety is a crucial issue and makes it tough for the governing body to stick with the summer option, but moving it elsewhere in the calendar will be very disruptive for clubs.
Knowing how much is at stake, FIFA decided to wait until at least next year to make a final call on the dates as the debate continues.
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