KEIR RADNEDGE in LONDON: IOC vice-president Sir Craig Reedie is confident that FIFA will not try to encroach into Olympic territory as it considers shifting the timing of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The world football federation is reviewing re-scheduling options to avoid the searing summer temperatures in the Gulf.

One option suggested by a senior European club executive is for the finals to be staged in January and February when many continental leagues have a winter break.

Umberto Gandini of Milan, who is a vice-president of the European Club Association, said recently: “The World Cup is one of the major events in the sports landscape [along] with the summer Olympics. But the Winter Olympics are not up there.

“When you have such a huge event like the World Cup don’t tell me it’s not possible to move the Winter Olympics a bit especially now where [the IOC] is still in the bid process and there are only two candidates [Beijing and Almaty].”

Dates dilemma

Reedie, addressing Host City: Bid to Win conference in London, rejected both Gandini’s assertion about the status of the Winter Games and the suggestion that the IOC should switch or accept a clash of dates.

He said: “I think there is a general agreement between the two presidents [IOC’s Thomas Bach and FIFA’s Sepp Blatter] that there will not be a clash.

“Certainly the IOC would prefer to see the World Cup, if it is moved, before Christmas rather than after it. We would not wish to have a clash between the World Cup and the Winter Games – which is a huge event in its own right as everyone could see from worldwide coverage of the Sochi Games.

“The number of hours coverage was getting on towards the Summer Games levels so there is huge interest in the Winter Games and that will continue.

“It doesn’t make sense to have these two events clashing.”

# # # #