ZURICH: International footballers’ union FIFPro has warned that 28 days is not enough time to play the 2022 FIFA World Cup and has expressed concern about the effect on continuing domestic competitions.
Football’s world governing body announced in March that the finals will begin on November 21 and conclude on December 18, the country’s national holiday. The tournament is likely to run for 28 days and – due to its expected start on a Monday, a departure from the traditional Friday kick-off – is set to be four days shorter than usual.
Qatar won its bid to host the World Cup in 2010, originally pitching to hold the tournament in its traditional June-July window by using air-cooling technology.
However, concerns about the stifling heat in the Middle East summer saw FIFA take the unprecedented decision to move the competition to the winter.
FIFPro general secretary Theo van Seggelen said: “It’s a continuing story. Our concern is that it is impossible for the players to play a tournament in four weeks.
“Can you imagine – you play on Saturday and Sunday in the different competitions. Then on Monday they leave first to go to their own country. The coach asks them how they are and on the same day, they have to go to Qatar, they are travelling for two days, and then they play four or five or seven games.
“There is no rest period, there is no preparation for any national team, that’s crazy. Everybody now is coming to the conclusion that it will be very difficult to play a tournament in such a short time.”
The international calendar for 2019-2022 is still being established and Van Seggelen said he understood the World Cup could start only a few days after a full weekend of domestic matches. The FIFPro chief is also concerned that some domestic leagues will continue during the tournament.
“They are going to continue playing other competitions around the whole world,” he added. “Have they any idea what that means, on the influence on the number of viewers? If you play on an amateur level and a professional level, then the players have to train, the fans go to matches, I don’t see how it works from a practical point of view.”