Sports News of Monday, 23 February 2015
Global football executives will fly to Qatar this week to conclude discussions on when the 2022 World Cup should be played.
The outcome already seems clear: football’s biggest event will be played in November and December for the first time unless FIFA unexpectedly gives in to European opposition.
In Doha last Tuesday, power brokers from Europe’s clubs and leagues on FIFA’s Qatar task force will once again spell out the disruption that would be created by splitting their August-May seasons.
But with the final scheduling decision resting with FIFA’s executive committee, it seems unlikely President Sepp Blatter’s desire for November-December will be overruled.
IOC President Thomas Bach has already been assured by FIFA that the World Cup will not encroach on the Winter Olympics by taking place in January and February.
Asian Football Confederation President Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa indicated last month that the November-December switch had already been “resolved.”
The European Club Association and European Professional Football Leagues, that proposed a compromise May and June solution recently, will struggle to win over FIFA at this late stage. — AP
Within the 214-member ECA there is frustration that their negotiating position was weakened by European football’s governing body accepting the winter switch, although UEFA President Michel Platini advocates the January kickoff ruled out by FIFA.
The ECA is going to Doha to ensure its opposition is at least registered at what is likely to be the final meeting of a task force created to make FIFA’s strategy to move the World Cup to winter seem more consensual.