The English Premier League and most of Europe’s other top football leagues aren’t happy with FIFA’s recommendation to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in the winter months. It looks like the event will be held in November and December according to a FIFA taskforce and this comes right in the middle of the European season. The leagues will be looking for some form of financial compensation if FIFA gets its way and there could also be some lawsuits filed to make it quite a sticky affair.
FIFA says if the event is held in the summer months the excessive heat will be a danger to fans, players, and officials. However, organizers in Qatar have stated that they could build modern state-of-the-art stadiums which some equipped with air conditioning. The summer temperatures in Qatar can sometimes exceed 40C while it typically drops to about 25C in November and December. The recommendation by FIFA’s task force is expected to be ratified by the organization in late March in Zurich. The taskforce has also recommended a slightly shorter tournament.
Some dates being mentioned are November 26 to December 23. Other dates that being considered were January to February and a May event. However, January-February was scrapped because the Winter Olympics will be taking place at the same time. Jerome Valcke, the general secretary of FIFA, said each option came with pros and cons, but the one with the fewest cons was November and December. FIFA’s vice-president Jim Boyce stated that a winter World Cup simply makes the most sense, but he’s not really crazy about holding the Final on Dec. 23 since it’s too close to Christmas Day and the traditional festive matches in Britain.
Boyce remarked, “That’s the only reservation I would have and I would like it a week earlier. But I want to wait until the FIFA executive committee meeting to hear all the details about the dates.” Richard Scudamore, the chief executive of the English Premier League added, “We’ve got to make sure we keep the Christmas and New year programme intact. Clearly there is still time within the process to consider our position further, but first we will consult with our clubs, other stakeholders in English football and other leagues before deciding on what, if any, further action might be appropriate or worthwhile.”