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UEFA fence-sits over winter World Cup

UEFA President Michel Platini says his organisation has not yet fully committed to moving the 2022 World Cup to a northern hemisphere winter.

The scheduling of the 2022 tournament in Qatar has been to topic of much speculation with a bitter row over whether it should be moved to avoid the Middle Eastern country’s searing summer heat.

The 54 UEFA associations have been meeting in Croatia to discuss the issue ahead of next month’s FIFA executive meeting in Zurich where an in-principle decision is likely to be made.

While FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce claimed on Friday that European countries have given their overall backing to moving the 2022 event to Qatar’s winter months, Platini was less forthright.

“There are only two things I have clearly in mind. The first is that the president of FIFA will talk about 2022 at the next FIFA ExCo meeting,” Platini said.

“Apart from that the European national associations have unanimously stated that in principle we aren’t against playing in winter.

“We haven’t said we agree fully, we’ve said we agree in principle.

“Now, the ball is in the court of the president of FIFA.”

It is understood FIFA would prefer to hold the 2022 tournament in December to avoid a clash with the Winter Olympics but UEFA are pushing for January and February to avoid a clash with the lucrative Champions League group stages.

Platini also hit back at FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who said the UEFA boss was influenced by French political and trade interests to support Qatar’s bid.

“With the extraordinary experience Mr Blatter has, he has only all of a sudden realized there are economic and political influences when we decide who is going to host Olympic Games and so forth?” Platini said.

“It’s better late than never I guess.”

Sat 21 September, 2013
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1 Comment:

  1. king kong says:

    After numerous excuses and debates, this fiasco has only two major issues. Firstly, the promises made by the UEFA head and secondly, working conditions of the workers.

    The situation now is a mess. Taking away Qatar’s right abruptly will make the situation even worse.

    Should there be no cheating before the bid, moving to winter may not anger so many and be as difficult now.

    The more reasonable solution is to rebid. It didn’t make sense months ago but, now, it has to be reconsidered. However, bid again for a winter or summer World Cup again?

    Bid again for a winter one is not sensible because almost every stakeholder objects now. No matter which candidate (Australia, Korea, Japan, Qatar or USA) is to win the rebid, FIFA faces the same set of unsolvable problems (Olympics, TV broadcasting rights, turmoil of all leagues etc).

    Rebidding for a summer world cup was regard as repeating the same mistake months ago. However, as the issue progresses, there are new rationales come into the play. Firstly, one of the main problems is the hidden promise of switching to winter made by the UEFA head before the bid. However, in the new rebid all the ExCo members know the backgrounds and the trustworthiness of the ability of the air-conditioning systems to overcome the heat (including the advertised ‘artificial clouds’ etc). Secondly, some FIFA officials interpret that the bidding contract had the timing opened for FIFA to select/confirm “in principle”. This makes controversy and, luckily, this controversial ambiguity lays the rationale for FIFA to have a rebid on the 2022 World Cup hosting right legally, rationally and, perhaps, emphatically.

    Based on the above, FIFA should, for this time, open a rebid with clear and not changeable timing of “hosting in summer of northern hemisphere”.

    Rebidding is the best solution to get out of this mess. It is fair to Qatar because they had a secret deal but not this time. If Qatar refuses to join the rebid, then it may mean that they have no confidence in overcoming the heat with their proposed air-conditioning and weather solutions.

    Another twist is that Qatar applies for an injunction to stop a rebid. Should this be the case, there are only two folds. Either, they want to keep the hosting right in summer. Or, they want a winter tournament. It will be a big relaxation for the European clubs and leagues if Qatar wants a summer game. On the other hand, probably, Qatar will not opt for an injunction based on the notion of moving to winter because that would mean they have no confidence in overcoming the heat problem again. If they cannot overcome the heat, FIFA can legally take off their hosting right.

    If Qatar wins again, then congratulate. No more change again, just wait for the progress of the air-conditioning systems.

    As for the poor working condition, it is not unique and unsolvable. Basically, FIFA just have to, in collaboration with the ITUC and other international labour right organizations, force and enforce Qatar companies to provide better facilities and working conditions to the works. It may cost them more, but Qatar is so rich that they surely can afford.

    In conclusion, set up a new rebidding process which is strictly no change to winter.

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