UEFA backs 2022 winter move

FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce has confirmed European countries have given their overall backing to moving the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to the winter.

Last Updated: 20/09/13 at 08:16 Post Comment

Who will lift the World Cup in 2022 and more importantly, when?

Who will lift the World Cup in 2022 and more importantly, when?

Boyce revealed the 54 UEFA associations, who have been meeting in Croatia, want FIFA to consult much further with the game's major stakeholders before making their decision about an exact date for the controversial tournament.

The world governing body meets in Zurich early next month when a decision is expected to be made in principle to moving the competition away from the summer months, when the heat in Qatar can reach more than 50 degrees centigrade.

"There were certain reservations regarding the World Cup in Qatar but everyone agreed that it would be impossible to play in the severe heat of Qatar in the summer," Boyce said.

"What the member associations want to see at the FIFA ExCo in October is that a task force is set up for everyone involved in Qatar to sit around the table and come up with the best solution with the minimum disruption.

"They all agreed to take thousands of fans to the greatest sporting event in the world in the middle of the summer would be just impossible.

"It's very important we get this right, it's very important that everyone involved has a meeting, the people with their concerns as well but it is most important is that we have a World Cup where spectators can go and enjoy themselves.

"At the end of the day, the best interests of football have to be sorted out and I am very confident that will be done. It's purely a one-off.

"It's wrong to speculate at the moment when this is going to be played. The stakeholders need to sit down and come up with the best solution. Many leagues in Europe have a break but my own preference would be for the end of January and early February. Hopefully FIFA will come up with the right solution."

Player safety

FIFA is believed to prefer a November/December tournament so that it does not clash with the Winter Olympics, whose host city will not be decided until 2015, but that would add an effect on the Champions League to domestic issues, which could be felt most in the United Kingdom.

Just moving the tournament away from the summer is the major issue for FIFPro, the worldwide body that represents professional players.

A statement read: "For FIFPro, protecting the health and safety of professional footballers is of paramount importance and must drive decision making at all levels of football.

"FIFPro is well aware of the particular threat of playing professional football in extreme heat. Medical and scientific experts are clear that playing in such conditions is hazardous and requires sporting organisations to have strong and proactive policies that ensure players are not subjected to any unreasonable risk to their health and safety.

"Professional footballers are workers in the eyes of the law. Accordingly, football authorities, including FIFA, the confederations, the clubs and the member associations are legally obliged to provide a safe working environment and cannot subject this obligation to other business considerations.

"The whole issue of the international match calendar is a matter for separate debate. FIFPro looks forward to participating in detailed consultation and deliberation of all stakeholders before any radical change is made."

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