World Cup 2022: UEFA backs plan for switch to Qatar winter

Story highlights

  • UEFA backs plan to move 2022 Qatar World Cup to winter
  • FIFA will hold vote next month in Zurich to decide on outcome
  • UEFA president Michel Platini has suggested a January or February time frame
  • Australia wants compensation for switch from winter to summer

The prospect of a winter World Cup in 2022 looks set to become a reality after Europe's football associations voted against holding the tournament in the Qatari summer.

All 54 member associations of UEFA, Europe's governing body, backed the decision at the meeting in Croatia Thursday.

"They all agreed that this competition could not take place in the heat of Qatar in the summer," FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce told CNN.

"At the end of the day common sense has to prevail here and I'm glad at long last common sense has prevailed," he added.

FIFA, the game's world governing body, has been considering the option of moving the tournament because of fears that players and fans would be adversely affected by the searing heat, which can reach 122 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer.

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FIFA President Sepp Blatter recently stated that it would not be feasible to hold a summer World Cup in Qatar and will make a decision on the timing of the tournament at the Executive Committee meeting in Zurich, Switzerland on October 3 and 4.

A winter World Cup would cause chaos with the European domestic season with clubs fearing they could lose out financially.

"What has to happen now is that the people who are involved, including the people from Qatar, they have to sit down and work out a situation that's going to cause (as) minimum (a) disruption that can possibly be made to football," said Boyce. "Not only in Europe but throughout the world.

"There are nine years to plan the World Cup and surely with common sense this can be overcome."

UEFA President Michel Platini, who voted for Qatar, believes a move to January or February would suit his members.

"I was very happy to learn that FIFA president Joseph Blatter wants to move the 2022 World Cup to the winter, something I've long advocated," the Frenchman told the media last month.

Platini also rejected claims by the chief executive of the English Premier League, Richard Scudamore, who claimed switching the World Cup was "well nigh impossible," citing disruption to the calendar and the impact on lucrative television deals.

He added: "For 150 years, England has imposed its calendar and we've respected it.

"So for once, for one month, England could respect another calendar."

FIFA's decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar has led to huge criticism with Australian football chiefs threatening legal action.

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Australia, which lost out to Qatar along with South Korea, the U.S. and Japan, believes it should be compensated if the World Cup is held in the winter rather than the summer.

Earlier this week, the Football Federation of Australia laid out its case which it expects FIFA's Executive Committee to examine.

"An in-principle decision that just and fair compensation should be paid to those nations that invested many millions, and national prestige, in bidding for a summer event," it said.

"If there is consensus within the Ex-Co that a change in date should be considered, then a transparent process should be established to examine the scheduling implications for all leagues and a method developed for agreeing appropriate compensation for those affected."

That case is unlikely to succeed according to a FIFA spokesperson, despite the pressure from the Australian FA.

A FIFA spokesperson told CNN: "As part of the bidding documents all bidders, including the FA Australia, accepted that the final decision regarding the format and dates of the staging of the FIFA World Cup and FIFA though initially expected to be in June/July, remains subject to the final decision of the FIFA Organizing Committee.

"There is no ground for any speculations."

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