Uefa backs winter move for Qatar World Cup

19 September 2013

Confusion continues over future of controversial tournament

Uefa, European football’s governing body, has given its backing to moving the Qatar World Cup 2022 to the summer.

“What has come out of this meeting is that the World Cup cannot be played in Qatar in the summer,” said Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce. “Everyone was certainly in agreement about that.”

Other parties are opposed to moving the tournament to the cooler winter months. US broadcaster Fox Sports says winter World Cup will clash with live American football games

Sources told US new agency Bloomberg that Fox Sports, which paid $425m for the television rights for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, said that a clash scheduling with live American football games made any proposed switch a major problem.

The broadcaster seemed to back the reports by stating that it had acquired the rights based on a summer tournament.

The news comes as another blow to Fifa, which awarded Qatar the tournament in 2010. Football’s governing body has said recently that it supports a switch to winter due to the harsh summer climate in the Gulf state.

However, many of Europe’s major football leagues have spoken out against any switch due to the scheduling of their respective seasons.  

The news follows Australia’s footballing governing body stating that it would be launching a compensation claim to cover the costs spent on its bid to host the 2002 tournament if it is switched to the winter.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) said that it would be looking for a payment of almost $40m if the tournament is switched. This could then open the floodgates for the other 2022 bidding nations, with the US, South Korea and Japan launching compensation claims, as well as every major football league, for which seasons will be disrupted by a winter World Cup.

The secretary-general of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, Hassan al-Thawadi, has reacted bullishly to the claims that the tournament should be moved away from the Gulf state.

Speaking to the BBC, Al-Thawadi said the Qatar bid was within the rules of the hosting agreement and that the country was “working hard” to deliver the tournament.

Fifa is meeting in early October when a decision regarding the event will be made.  

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