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The international players’ union has backed calls to play the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in the winter instead of June and July – and claimed that players will be in better shape at that time of year.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter and general secretary Jerome Valcke have both thrown their weight behind moves to stage the tournament in January to avoid the expected heat problems.
Summer temperatures in Qatar can top 50 degrees Celsius and players’ union FIFPro said they are pleased at Fifa’s willingness to consider changing the timing to winter.
Tijs Tummers, secretary of FIFPro’s technical committee, said: “We will have to take a careful look at the international match calendar, but FIFPro does not foresee any insurmountable problems in this regard.
“Space will have to be made for the tournament, even though many countries already have a winter break.
“In Europe, competitive matches will have to be played in August and the second half of May and the first half of June. If you look at what happened last weekend with weather problems in Europe because of heavy snowfall, you could see this as an advantage rather than as a problem.
“And it might perhaps turn out that the players will be fitter at the start of a winter World Cup than was the case last summer at the World Cup in South Africa.”
“Tourists are advised not to travel to Qatar in the summer months. Inhabitants of Qatar leave the country en masse during this period. The summer months in Qatar also do not provide suitable conditions for a festival of football such as the World Cup should be, including for the supporters.
“The organisers have guaranteed that the temperature inside the stadiums and at the training centres will be reduced to 27C by means of air-conditioning.
“That is all well and good, but it obviously does not fit in with ecological thinking, which we expect to be even more widespread by 2022.” (Sky Sports)
It seems the world is being steamrollered into moving the World Cup from the summer, where it has taken place happily for 80 years, to the winter so that it suits a bid that had initially stated it was geared to being played at the usual time of the year.
The way this whole drip drip process of essentially forcing the issue to move the 2022 Qatar World Cup to January is pretty disgraceful really. All of this has been done without any actual democratic voting by any member nations, just the heads of various organizations prejudicing any votes that do take place by stating that the idea is a good one.
Another interesting question to take into account would be whether the World Cup would now take place in 2022 at all? If the tournament is to take place in the January of that year then it would mean that the Finals themselves would take place about six weeks after the final play-off matches had taken place, which wouldn’t leave much time for the tournament to be scheduled and planned. So perhaps we are looking at a 2023 World Cup?
The idea that the tournament can be happily squeezed into the calendar just be opening the seasons out a week or two either side is sheer madness, think about the knock on effects on the seasons both prior to and after the Finals?
Remember also that the entire bidding process that Qatar undertook stated that they would be able to hold the tournament in the summer, so what happened in the intervening time between the decision to give them the World Cup and the sudden realization that in fact it had to be in the winter. A decision that appears to have been reached literally days after the bid was won.
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