Winter World Cup for Qatar

The world footballers' union calls for 2022 tournament to be played to January, amid heat concerns for players and fans.

    A January tournament in 2022 will save the enormous expense of providing cool spaces and stadia for fans

    The world footballers union [FIFPro] has demanded for the 2022 World Cup, which has been awarded to Qatar, to be played in January instead of the traditional June/July tournament.

    Summer temperatures in Qatar can top a whopping 50 degrees Celsius. FIFPro believes that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar should be held in winter instead of summer.

    Franz Beckenbauer, German footballer and a member of Fifa’s executive committee was the first to  confess that he would like to see World Cup 2022, staged in January and February.

    FIFA backing

    Initially, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association [FIFA] was not open to this option however Sepp Blatter, FIFA president and Jerome Valcke, FIFA general secretary have both since expressed that they will consider such a change.

    And the world players’ union is pleased about FIFA’s willingness to consider this change.

    However, according to FIFA, any such requests have to come from the Qatar Football Association [QFA] and then it is up to the FIFA Executive Committee to decide.

    Blessing in disguise?

    The move would require a long winter break in the european league football tournaments, many of which already have a winter break.

    Tijs Tummers, secretary of FIFPro's technical committee, said that, "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."

    Tummers added that the quality of the football and the working conditions for the players are FIFPro’s priority.

    "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, " he said.

    FIFPro is the worldwide representative organization for all professional players, more than 50,000 footballers in total.

    The agreement between QFA and FIFA, as it stands is that Qatar will stage all 64 matches of the World Cup, during June and July.

    Sep Blatter said that, "I definitely support the playing of the 2022 World Cup in winter, when the climate is appropriate. I’m thinking here of the footballers, not only of the fans, and I think it should be possible. Where there’s a will there’s a way."

    Michel Platini, the president of Union of European Football Associations [UEFA] has also supported the idea of moving the 2022 tournament to winter months.

    However, Platini does not think that heat will be a problem even if the tournament is played in the Qatari summer .

    "The temperature in Dallas during the 1994 World Cup was 45 degrees Celsius, and nobody criticised the USA at the time."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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