KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the Premier League, is likely to be near the top of the list of senior officials invited to offer their opinion to FIFA’s 2022 consultation process.
The Premier League has been the only one to speak out in virulent opposition to the concept of shifting the Qatar finals away from the summer months.
That has placed it in direct opposition to the Football Association whose new chairman, Greg Dyke, has vigorously espoused a timing switch.
After FIFA president Sepp Blatter emerged as a late convert to a winter World Cup, Scudamore was quick to object.
He said: “At the end of the day, FIFA decided the World Cup will be in the summer in Qatar. The bid was extremely thorough, they dealt with all the issues about the heat and the managing of the air conditioning in the stadiums.
“My view is you can do it in the summer. You can do it there [but] if that is deemed not possible by FIFA, they need to move the location. We can’t just, on a whim, decide to move to the winter. It’s extremely difficult, nigh-on impossible in our view.”
However, Scudamore did concede that the concept of a timing switch needed thorough discussion with all the game’s worldwide stakeholders: “Where they award the World Cup to is a FIFA executive committee decision and not our business. But the international football calendar has to be consulted, FIFA can’t just decide. There’s a whole series of complications and consultation has to be separate with leagues on a global basis, to make sure it works for everyone before a decision is made.”
Now Scudamore is likely to be offered the platform on which to make his opinion known.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, chairman of the European Club Association, is another club game member who can expect a call.
The Bayern Munich ceo, after being critically initially of the Qatar, has gradually softened his stance. A recent meeting of the ECA was held in Qatar at a goodwill invitation from the local sports authorities.
Rummenigge reacted positively to FIFA’s promise of consultations, saying: “I welcome the decision of FIFA and Sepp Blatter to take the time to conduct a consultation process involving all stakeholders concerned and discuss the date for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.”