ZURICH: Gian Franco Kasper has returned to the attack on FIFA over winter sports’ concern that football’s 2022 World Cup will clash with the Winter Olympics writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Scornful Kasper, president of the international ski federation and a member of the International Olympic Committee, said: “FIFA behaves as if it has never heard of anyone else, that’s how strong football is.”
Kasper and his FIS colleagues fear losing out in a TV and sponsor ‘war’ if the World Cup finals are staged in January 2022, close to the Winter Games.
He said: “When the matter came up about moving the Qatar timing from summer for the first time, I immediately wrote to [FIFA president Sepp] Blatter on behalf of all winter sports federations. Pretty sharp too, to be honest. The response? Next to zero.
“The FIFA people think they are gods and act accordingly. They care about nothing and nobody else. If the World Cup takes place in November or December, then we can – just about – live with it.”
Kasper considered the current FIFA presidential election irrelevant. He assessed the ‘FIFA problem’ as being an issue of culture rather than personality.
He said: “This is not about Mr Blatter as a person but the power of football in general. Perhaps the only way forward would be for Mr Blatter’s [Swiss] compatriots to remind him about the importance of the winter sports break.”
Kasper was also cautious about some of the proposals of the Agenda 2020 changes being introduced by IOC president Thomas Bach – in particular the possibility of cities ‘sharing’ Games hosting.
“I doubt whether this would restrict the dangers of gigantism,” said Kasper. “In fact, possibly the opposite, with more cities possibly becoming involved. This is a dangerous balancing act.”