Dyke expects Qatar World Cup shift

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Published: Sunday 26th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Football Association chairman Greg Dyke still expects the Qatar World Cup to be switched to autumn or winter.

The European Club Association, an umbrella organisation representing the interests of 214 teams from the continent, is set to lobby for the finals to be played in April and May 2022 when a taskforce set up to look at the issue meets on November 3.

Dyke met with FIFA president Sepp Blatter recently and believes the sport’s most powerful man is certainly of the view that the 2022 finals cannot be held in their traditional June-July slot because of the searing heat in the Gulf state at that time of year.

“Mr Blatter had flown to Qatar straight after the World Cup (in Brazil) so he was there in July and I think he just realised how unbelievably hot it is,” Dyke told BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek programme.

“His view is that we can’t possibly hold it in the summer. There seems to be some going back on that now, that we could hold it in the summer after all.

“But I just don’t think it’s possible and I don’t think he thinks it’s possible.”

Dyke said he felt the finals would ultimately be held in either November-December 2022 or January-February 2023.

On Friday, the ECA, which counts 10 English clubs among its membership, told Press Association Sport: ”ECA is indeed considering alternatives to the November/December and January/February proposals. April/May seems to be a possible option. Our official proposal with all details will be presented and discussed at the FIFA Task Force meeting on November 3.”

Bringing the event forward to January or February 2022 has been mooted, but a clash with the Winter Olympics presents a potentially insurmountable obstacle.

Another alternative, apparently favoured by Blatter, would see the World Cup take place in November and December, when the climate would be more suited to football.

But that would represent a huge disruption to many domestic leagues – a prospect that could wreak havoc with European structures – effectively splitting the 2022-23 campaign in two as well as having a knock-on effect to future seasons.

Now it seems ECA, formed in 2008 and backed by the power of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris St Germain as well as the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and both Manchester clubs, will push for its own vision.

May temperatures in Qatar would still be stifling, but unlikely to be significantly higher than those experienced in Mexico (1986), the United States (1994) or Japan and South Korea (2002).

The stadium cooling technology that Qatar has long promised will be available and could also come into play in such circumstances.

The FIFA taskforce, which consists of a wide span of stakeholders, will receive representations from ECA at its forthcoming meeting and will recommend its preferred dates for the finals to FIFA’s executive committee next year.

Published: Sunday 26th October 2014 by The News Editor

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