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Richards wants action on Qatar World Cup

English Premier League chairman Dave Richards believes it is unsafe to hold the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup in June due to the excessive heat.

A member of UEFA’s Professional Football Committee, Richards thinks it would be catastrophic for the European leagues if they were not given time to prepare for a winter competition.

“FIFA have started throwing in the medical reasons for why we can’t play (the 2022 World Cup in June) and UEFA are starting to say we’re going to have to play in the winter,” Richards said.

“I do think that somewhere along the line bodies have got to come together and start discussing to give us sufficient time.

“The European fixture list is very, very difficult, so to just say we’re going to stop playing for six weeks in the winter is going to be big.

“The authorities, the Premier League, the FA and FIFA are going to have to sit down and come up with a solution, because no matter what happens, Qatar is going to stage the World Cup.

“You’ve got to find the solutions, but do it properly and people need time to change whatever they’ve got to change.

“At this minute, if nothing changes and then somebody within six months comes along and says ‘we’re playing in the winter’ that would be catastrophic for the European leagues.”

Meanwhile, Richards paid tribute to former England striker Michael Owen who will retire at the end of the season, calling the 33-year-old an ‘icon’ of the English game.

“If you look at the way (Owen’s) played, the goals he’s scored, the important goals he’s scored for England, he’s been a terrific role model and player,” Richards said.

“But his body will be telling him this is the time to stop, but as a player you can only pay a great tribute to him for what he’s contributed to English football, the English game but especially the Premier League.”

Richards also reiterated his support for national manager Roy Hodgson, saying the 65-year-old has the ‘magic’ that can bring success to England.

“England’s in a good place, because Roy Hodgson, I don’t know what it is, but he has got some magic,” he said.

“I’ve worked with a lot of managers in England over the last 20 odd years, and we’ve had some fantastic managers.

“But he’s got a feel, he works with the players, he talks to them and he’s a great person to have around the system.”

Tue 19 March, 2013
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