DUBAI: The prospect of FIFA switching the 2022 World Cup to the winter is gathering opposition from outside football writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Over the weekend Thomas Bach, new president of the International Olympic Committee, set in train a process to ringfence the Olympic schedule which would shut off the possibility of a January date for Qatar 2022, as championed by the UEFA president Michel Platini.
Simultaneously, the council of the international skiing federation (FIS), decided to propose that the seven International Winter Sports Federations should band together and agree a resolution opposition to “the FIFA World Cup during the winter sports season in 2022.”
FIS is the governing body for alpine skiing, cross country skiing, freestyle skiing (aerials, moguls), Nordic combined, ski jumping, snowboarding.
As far as skiing is concerned the season runs from late October to mid-March. The current Alpine Ski World Cup calendar began on October 26 in Sölden, Austria, and will end next March 16 with the World Cup finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
Hence, as far as skiing is concerned, FIFA should steer clear of the entire five months. This will be music to the ears of a number of domestic leagues – including, notably, the English Premier League – which oppose the idea of a switch from the traditional summer World Cup dates.
The Qatar bid was based on a concept which involved coping with the searing summer temperatures by a massive use of air-cooling technology in stadia, training grounds and fan areas.
The other winter sports federations are:
International Biathlon Union (IBU)
International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation (FIBT) [including skeleton (sport]
World Curling Federation (WCF)
International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF)
International Luge Federation (FIL)
International Skating Union (ISU) [figure skating, short track speed skating, speed skating]
Swiss dentist Rene Fasel, the president of both the IIHF and the winter sports’ association, was among those involved in the Bach’s weekend Olympic summit, along with Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president.
Blatter will pay his first formal visit to meet the new Emir of Qatar on Thursday this week in Doha. One topic certain to be on the agenda is the issue of labour rights for construction workers in the Gulf state.
The following day Blatter will attend the final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in neighbouring Abu Dhabi.