Qatar 2022: The Winter World Cup
THE farce that is Qatar 2022 continues, with workers’ rights being chucked in the bin, allegations of bribery abounding and, of course, the playing of a football tournament in a country that doesn’t have any stadiums and the kind of weather that negates the beautiful game.
There’s been talk of a winter World Cup for a while, much to the chagrin of 99% of football fans. For a start, a World Cup in Winter would land in the middle of the club’s football season.
However, all this doesn’t matter because money is talking loudest and senior, influential football figures have backed proposals that could see the Qatar 2022 World Cup being hosted at the same time as the Winter Olympics. In the meeting was Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore and Football Association general secretary Alex Horne, along with the head of the Qatar 2022 organising committee Hassan Al Thawadi and other representatives from domestic leagues and regional confederations.
BBC Sport understand that talks at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich have resulted in support for a Winter tournament, which would be held in January and February or November and December. Of course, no final decision has been made, but it is looking increasingly likely that this is going to happen. FIFA are adamant that the tournament cannot take place in summer because of the extremely hot temperatures in Qatar.
Not that they thought of that when Qatar was awarded the World Cup in the first place.
FIFA’s president Sepp Blatter and his International Olympic Committee counterpart Thomas Bach have agreed that their events should not clash, so it looks like the 2022 Winter Olympics will be held after the World Cup.
As a result of this complete mess, a FIFA taskforce has been asked to find a solution to the 2022 World Cup, which is likely to mean the entire international fixture calendar between 2018 and 2024 is going to be rejigged.
As many European leagues take a Winter break, it looks like the World Cup could go ahead in November. However, officials from Africa, South America, North and Central America and Asia are more open to a tournament that takes place January and February. The cynics will assume that the members that throw expensive watches and deposit money in various delegates’ accounts will get their preferred months.
It seems the European teams – which account for the biggest teams in the world – are being ignored with a wish to see a World Cup played in summer. They would apparently like to see all the options for summer exhausted before settling on a winter date. However, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke isn’t interested.
One has to ask the question as to why FIFA isn’t asking Qatar’s representatives to explain themselves about why they can’t host the tournament as they originally intended. It is thought that Scudamore and a representative of La Liga in Spain voiced their ire at this and are not keen on a winter World Cup at all.
FIFA’s taskforce – possibly sat in a bath of caviar as we speak, being given footrubs with bank notes – are expected to make a recommendation by March 2015.
Chances are, Qatar and FIFA are going to get what they want with this tournament. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next.