LONDON: British Sports Minister Hugh Robertson has thrown his weight behind Australia demand that losing 2022 World Cup bid nations should be compensated by FIFA if the finals are switched to the winter.
Frank Lowy, president of Football Federation Australia, had fired the first financial warning shot a fortnight ago and ahead of a meeting this week during which the world federation’s executive committee will consider the issue of the timing of rhe 2022 World Cup.
England bid initially and simultaneously for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups before focusing, eventually, on 2018. But the Football Association might also have a claim because its officials also believed that all bids were for summer World Cups.
Robertson did concede, in an interview with the Press Association, that he saw no other option than moving the tournament to the winter to escape the searing summer temperatures in Qatar.
He said: “FIFA has to remember there are a series of other countries who bid for that 2022 World Cup in good faith and are now going to find the goalposts have moved.
“If it’s held in the winter, that’s absolutely sensible but to have a re-pitch would be quite unfair on the Qataris.
“I think a deal should be done where the fact the Qataris won it fair and square is acknowledged but other nations who bid for 2022 are compensated in some shape or form, either financially or by hosting other FIFA tournaments.”
Robertson absolved the Qataris of blame for the situation.
He said: “I don’t think anybody in the world of football thinks a World Cup in Qatar in the summer is a sensible or deliverable option. To that extent, this is a mess of FIFA’s own making.
“I don’t blame the Qataris at all – they wanted the World Cup and every country is entitled to have that ambition and they entered the bidding competition in the way suggested by FIFA. I entirely blame FIFA.”
Proposals to change the date of the tournament have met the stiffest resistance from the English Premier League out of concern about disruption to the traditional calendar.