DOHA: The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee has hit back at criticism of the Gulf state having been awarded the hosting rights for the FIFA World Cup in nine years’ time after the debate over the tournament escalated.
New Football Association chairman Greg Dyke said that a summer World Cup in Qatar would be “impossible” because of the searing heat and called on FIFA to either find a new host for the 2022 tournament or reschedule it to the winter.
Dyke’s comments came as Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Bayern Munich ceo and chairman of the European Club Association, said UEFA would favour a ‘block’ system of domestic fixtures in a bid to tackle the thorny issue of a winter World Cup.
He had told German magazine Kicker: “I like to call it the Lego system. The idea is based on periods of time. You could hold a World Cup in January or February – for instance the one in Qatar – and if the World Cup returns to Europe in 2026, you could play it in the summer again.”
Responding to the latest round of debate, the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee said in a statement: “Football is the most popular sport in the Middle East and the people of our region deserve the opportunity to have history made in their part of the world. We are committed to delivering on the promises we made in our successful bid. We are ready to host in summer or winter.”
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said its “next” executive committee – which is on October 3-4 – would discuss the issue of potentially switching the 2022 World Cup to a winter calendar slot.
The Qatari statement added: “We have always maintained that this issue requires the agreement of the international football community. A decision to alter the dates of the 2022 FIFA World Cup would not affect our infrastructure planning.”
The English Premier League has been one of the most vocal opponents of any potential switch in dates for Qatar 2022, claiming that such a move would disrupt the calendar for both that season and the ones before and after, and also affect broadcast contracts.
However, FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce has stated his belief that there is more than enough time to instigate the necessary changes to the traditional calendar system.
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