Backlash after Fifa proposes a winter World Cup

2011-01-08 09:47

London – Arsene Wenger has led a chorus of English Premier League managers who have questioned Fifa president Sepp Blatter’s proposal to stage a winter World Cup in 2022.

Blatter said this week he expected the tournament in Qatar to be held in the winter months to avoid the searing summer temperatures.

But Blatter’s comments have failed to impress club bosses in England, who have expressed doubts about the feasibility of restructuring the domestic football season to accommodate the global showpiece.

“It looks like an idea that has come out of nowhere,” Wenger said.

“That is a bit of a surprise and certainly it would mean that the whole world of football has to be reorganised.

“As you know, we have a Christmas period that is quite busy here, and England would be very happy to play the World Cup in January just after that.

“It would demand a complete reorganisation of the whole world’s fixtures and I cannot see that happening.

“Certainly, it would create many problems, yes, between clubs and countries and Fifa.”

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce wondered how the schedule in England and around the world could be successfully reorganised.

“What are we going to do with our league and what are they going to do with all the leagues around the world?” Bruce asked.

Fulham boss Mark Hughes agreed a World Cup staged in January would likely mean that domestic campaigns would run until July of 2022.

“There must have been some thought gone into it or they would not have awarded the World Cup to Qatar in the first place,” Hughes said.

“It’s going to be a huge change that year and how it impacts on the Premier League we won’t know until it actually happens.”

Everton boss David Moyes, meanwhile, took aim at the fact that the dates for the tournament were now being shifted when bidding nations had campaigned on the basis of a tournament being held in the traditional June/July slot.

“Was everyone aware of that before they made their choice?

I think if that had been put to the relevant countries, there may have been a lot of people not choosing Qatar,” Moyes said.

West Ham’s Avram Grant echoed Moyes remarks. While stating that moving the tournament to winter was “not a bad idea”, he added: “I like it when ideas come before decisions, not after decisions.”

Fifa awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar – a small oil-rich Gulf state where summer temperatures can exceed 40°C in summer months – at a controversial vote in Zurich last month.

Speaking in Doha this week ahead of the Asian Cup kickoff, Blatter said the 2022 tournament was likely to be held in winter.

“I expect it will be held in the winter. We have time to look at this question.

It is still 11 years away, but we must decide the most adequate period for a successful World Cup, which means January or the end of the year,” he said.

“When you play football, you must protect the main people – the players.”

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