World Cup 2022: Qatar chief rejects calls to move finals

WC
World Cup 2022: Qatar chief rejects calls to move finals
By Richard Conway BBC Sport

The head of the Qatar 2022 World Cup has rejected calls for the tournament to be awarded to another country.

Governing body Fifa is expected to move the tournament to winter to avoid Qatar’s high summer temperatures.

And Football Association chairman Greg Dyke said the tournament might have to move location if a suitable time to play in Qatar could not be agreed.

But Hassan al-Thawadi, chief of the Qatar bid, insists there is “no reason” why they should not host the event.
Analysis
Image of Phil McNulty Phil McNulty Chief football writer

If FA chairman Greg Dyke has realistic hopes of watching England fulfil his goal of winning the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, then a move to hold the tournament in winter would slightly improve his chances.

England’s players – whoever they may be then – would be more comfortable if the World Cup was moved away from a time of the year when temperatures can exceed 40C.

It is understandable, however, that the Premier League would take an opposing view as the bid was won on the basis of a summer World Cup and with the self-interest of avoiding disruption to their own competition.

“We’ve worked very, very hard to ensure we’re within the rules of the bidding, within the rules of the hosting agreement,” he told BBC Sport.

“At the same time we’re delivering on all the promises that we’ve made. We’re working very hard to deliver it. The commitment is there.”

Fifa president Sepp Blatter is determined to switch the 2022 World Cup to the winter as summer temperatures can reach 50C in the Middle Eastern country.

Blatter, 77, has admitted the governing body may have made a “mistake” in awarding the tournament to Qatar in the summer.

“[Qatar] is the right place, the Middle East is the right place,” said Al-Thawadi.

“We are representing the Middle East, it is a Middle Eastern World Cup, so it is the right place. The Middle East deserves to host a major tournament.”

FA chairman Dyke told the BBC in August that a summer World Cup in Qatar, who defeated rival bids from South Korea, Japan, Australia and the United States in December 2010, would be “impossible”.

The Premier League has taken an opposing stance, with chief executive Richard Scudamore insisting the tournament should go ahead in the summer.

However, Europe’s leading clubs have said they are “open” to the possibility of a winter World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, chairman of the European Club Association (ECA) believes it is “probably” better to switch the finals to winter.

The ECA is an independent body representing the interests of Europe’s leading clubs. Ten English clubs are members – Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton, Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle and Tottenham.

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