KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING: David Bernstein has come out in support of the Premier League over the 2022 World Cup and against the stance of Greg Dyke, his successor as chairman of the Football Association.
The finals were awarded to the Gulf state by world federation FIFA in December 2010. UEFA president Michel Platini, despite having voted for Qatar, then launched a campaign to switch the finals to the winter. The issue will be discussed in October by FIFA’s executive committee.
Last week Dyke expressed himself in favour of a winter World Cup. This clashed with the position taken previously by Bernstein who had sided with the Premier League is opposing such a switch.
Bernstein, interviewed on BBC Radio Five, insisted his views had not altered by the fuss over the issue.
While he acknowledged that “it was a strange award in the first place,” he said: “It’s a huge issue but my personal view is unchanged. The bid was a sunmmer bid and accepted as a summer bid. I don’t think it’s impossible though it may be undesirable.
“The issue with fans coming out of cool stadia into boiling heat is clearly an issue but the idea of arbitrarily changing from summer to winter smacks of a a false prospectus. Either it should be left where it is or there should be a rebidding; [moving to winter] seems fundamentally wrong.”
Bernstein thought that many leagues beyond western Europe would also be opposed to a switch from the World Cup’s traditional June/July slot.
He also dismissed the suggestion, floated by both Platini and British FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce, that such a switch would cause minimal disruption and only to one season in any case.
Bernstein said: “I believe a winter World Cup it will affect three seasons. It would be a very big thing to do but, fundamentally, to bid on one basis and then just change it afterwards cannot be right.”
The problem with the concept of rerunning the bidding is that the 2022 decision was taken simultaneously with that of 2018 (to Russia): hence FIFA would find in legal minefield trying to unpick just half the process.