LAUSANNE: Thomas Bach, new president of the International Olympic Committee, has said he is not worried – after talks with FIFA’s Sepp Blatter – about the 2022 World Cup overlapping with the Winter Olympics writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
That expression of confidence from Bach, voted in by the IOC three weeks ago, suggests that UEFA president Michel Platini’s preferred option for the 2022 finals in Qatar has been vetoed.
Platini, who voted for Qatar when the 2022 decision was taken by the FIFA exco in December 2010, has campaigned vigorously for a winter World Cup to keep players and fans out of the way of harm in the seaing Gulf summer temperatures.
The exco will discuss the 2022 timing issue later this week. It is expected to set up a task force to review the options.
One alternative raised by Platini had been January and February of 2022 but this would mean the final stages overlapping with the Winter Olympics – and the IOC has very little room for manoeuvre because of the nature of the winter Games themselves.
United States television corporation Fox, which bought the 2022 World Cup rights in the expectation of a summer tournament, has also frowned on a January/February switch because of clashes with other scheduled American sports coverage.
Bach was pressed on the issue after attending the Sochi 2014 Winter Games torch lighting ceremony in Olympia.
He said he had held talks with Blatter and was confident the two major events would not overlap.
He added: “This is a FIFA discussion and the IOC will not interfere. I have spoken with president Blatter a couple of weeks ago when he made the proposal to have the World Cup in November 2022 and we will now follow these discussions in the executive commission of FIFA.
“I am very sure that there will be a solution in the mutual interest because neither FIFA nor the IOC want a clash of dates for such major world sports events. This is why I am not worried at all.”