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Friday, June 25, 2021

FIFA to open talks for winter World Cup dates

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2014 World Cup

FIFA will begin talks with world football officials on Monday to explore dates for Qatar to host the World Cup in winter, according to news reports.

Football’s world governing body will open its first consultation meeting at its Geneva headquarters on Sept. 8 with representatives from the six continental confederations, clubs, leagues and players’ unions, Associated Press said.

The meeting will be led by Asian Football Confederation President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa of Bahrain, and a follow up meeting has been scheduled for November.

Summer matches

The global tournament is traditionally held in June and July, the traditional off-season for many professional leagues.

However, there has been significant controversy over the prospect of matches being played in Qatar during the summer, when the temperature is regularly in the 40s and humidity levels climb.

While Qatar has promised to develop and install cooling technology in its World Cup stadia, many critics still argue that hosting a summertime tournament in the Gulf state would be hazardous for players and spectators alike.

Sepp Blatter

FIFA President Sepp Blatter earlier this year admitted that it had been an “error” to award Qatar the rights to host a summer World Cup.

Before Qatar won its bid, FIFA’s own technical report highlighted significant problems with holding the tournament in Qatar during the summer, due to the high temperatures.

“Of course, it was a mistake … But you know, one makes a lot of mistakes in life. The technical report for Qatar stated that summer temperatures were too high. However, the executive committee of FIFA decided to award the World Cup to Qatar with a broad majority despite this,” Blatter said.

Blatter, as well as FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, have previously mused about moving the kick-off date in November 2022.

The FIFA president has also said he’d like the dates to be finalized by March 2015.

European opposition

However, the European clubs and leagues in particular have been opposed to moving the World Cup to the winter, which would mean introducing an eight-week break at the height of the football season.

The European Professional Football Leagues, which represents 844 clubs in 22 countries, issued a statement earlier this year saying that shifting the dates would have an adverse effect on timetables for domestic matches, and would harm leagues’ business interests.

American broadcaster Fox – which paid a record amount for the broadcasting rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups – is also reported to oppose shifting the tournament to the winter out of concern that it would clash with its coverage of National Football League games.

Qatar’s tournament organizers say the country is still preparing to host the event during the summer.

In an interview earlier this summer with Al Jazeera, the Supreme Committee of Delivery & Legacy’s communications director Nasser al Khater said: “Let us be honest, we can host a World Cup in the summer.”

“We are waiting on the task force to come back and make the recommendations.

“Our plans won’t change, we are going to be ready to host the World Cup in 2022, whether it is the winter or summer of 2022,” he added.

Cooling technology

Qatar’s SCDL has said that its stadia, training grounds, public areas and walkways will use environmentally-friendly cooling technology to keep players, officials and fans at a comfortable temperature.

FIFA Brazil Fan Zone

prototype of one of these cooling systems was successfully trialed in the open-air fan zone at Katara Cultural Village in July, during screenings of 2014 World Cup matches.

However, a report published in the International Journal of Biometeorology last month warned that spectators could face “strong heat stress” if the tournament took place in the height of the summer.

Based on its findings, it recommended holder the tournament sometime between November and February, “when thermally comfortable conditions are much more frequent.”

Thoughts?

12 COMMENTS

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Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

This is good news. Moving the WC to the winter season will make the life of everyone easier, and will alleviate Qatar from the burden of installing this so-called environment-friendly cooling technology. The only people who would be upset with this are those who make money out of football. I thought FIFA is supposed to care for football fans not football corporations and lobbyists.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Not sure that the European football leagues would consider this move as making their life easier… And obviously those who benefit financially would be upset, they expect a big return for the silly amount of money they pay for players, tv rights, ads etc etc

I agree would be much better to host in winter but too many people would be adversely affected. Then again, if the issue is just money, why don’t they just put a price tag on it and invoice Qatar. Then everyone would be happy.

Ben
Ben
6 years ago

Here we go again……..

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago

Changing terms after a bid has been awarded seems unfair. Other countries might have been interested and made bids if it was a winter tournament. They are really opening themselves up for a lawsuit.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago

Goodness now that is a surprise! Just have to buy out:
– TV rights for every country that has to reschedule everything else
– other bidders who bid under different terms
– biggest clubs in the world who have their season messed around
and everyone will be happy…

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

Yes Mr. Blatter heads of organisations do make mistakes, but they are usually accountable to governments or shareholders and do the honourable thing and resign. You on the other hand are accountable to nobody, and your lack of honour has been demonstrated many times in the past, hence you are still in the job.

Diego
Diego
6 years ago

Then if they are going to open these talks I would venture to think the report that was to be due end of July on the corruption investigation will say- “go ahead with the bid”.On the actual timing of the WC…..winter makes sense in some ways,but not other ways and once the precedent has been set to do this type of change,the way the award if from now on will change to.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Holding the world cup in winter is the only logical solution for countries that inhabit desert areas or those with inhospitable climates in the summer months, otherwise a whole swathe of countries could never feasibly hold the world cup and that is not fair for a global game.

However the terms of the bid were for a summer world cup as stipulated by FIFA and that is what all bidding countries based their bid on and spent a lot of money in the process. To change the terms of the award after the vote will leave FIFA open to legal action from those countries trying to reclaim the money spent on a false bid.

DEEM
DEEM
6 years ago

We went to the fanzone at Katara during Brazil 2014. The cooling system employed was very effective. I also noted that one or two of the games played in Brazil, it was actually hotter and more humid than it was here at the same time of day…. And what about the Korean World Cup? Conditions there were far worse than Qatar… And Mexico in 70. Plus they had the altitude to contend with, so is it really that big a concern? We all cope with it.

Ben
Ben
6 years ago
Reply to  DEEM

I dont think its hotter in Korea in the summer than here.
I do however agree that if all games are played here after dark, it would not be any hotter than the day time games in Korea or some of the Brazil games were.
My original idea was to move it back a month to May when it wouldnt be so hot. That wat the Europeon leagues would just have to adjust the start of their season by a few weeks to cope.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  DEEM

Seoul is about 10 degrees cooler than Doha in summer, as for Brazil, conditions were very different depending on the stadium/region and only a few had very hot & humid matches, which were quite uncomfortable from the look of it, and had all matches been there I think it would have been a problem

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
6 years ago
Reply to  DEEM

Korea hotter than Qatar during summer. What have you been smoking ?

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