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European clubs won't rule out summer WC in Qatar

09 September 2014, 20:34

Geneva - European soccer clubs have refused to rule out a summer World Cup in Qatar in 2022, saying they want to be given "strong, decisive" reasons before accepting a decision to move it to a different time of year.

The European Clubs' Association (ECA) contradicted FIFA president Sepp Blatter's view that a summer tournament was off the agenda, pointing out that cooling technology for stadiums and pitches had been an integral part of Qatar's successful bid to host the competition.

"It would be very, very important to have strong arguments to convince the European game to disrupt its season in favour of a World Cup in another (earlier or later) part of the year," ECA vice chairman Umberto Gandini told reporters.

"There must be very, very good reasons for moving the World Cup from its conventional slot because it will jeopardise the entire game worldwide.

"We need to have more information before accepting the fact that our season will be disrupted."

On Monday, Gandini took part in the opening meeting of the FIFA task force, along with representatives from national associations, players, leagues and local organising committee, which has been set up to decide at which time of year the competition should be held.

Three slots were put forward, January/February, June/July and November/December.

However, FIFA president Sepp Blatter clouded the issue when he simultaneously gave a taped interview, which presented at the Soccerex event in Manchester and discarded a summer World Cup.

"We have already said we cannot play in summer in this heat in Qatar," he said. "We have to play in winter."

Gandini said that FIFA should pay more attention to the clubs, leagues and players who would not be taking part in the 2022 World Cup and would have their seasons disrupted by a potential move.

"We don't necessarily place any attention on those who won't go to Qatar," he said. "The majority of the players will not go to the World Cup, the majority of the leagues will not be represented at the World Cup.

"What's going to happen to football in the world if we move the World Cup from its natural slot to either January/February or November/December. This is also something that we need to look at."

When Qatar was awarded the World Cup by FIFA's executive committee in December 2010, it was widely accepted that the decision was based on holding the tournament in June and July and using cooling technology.

"They (Qatar) are very confident that can do that and even if the World Cup was moved, they would still stick with the project," said Gandini.

"Technology was a very important part of the bid they won, FIFA is fully aware of that," he added.

Gandini added that the task force was presented with a study which suggested that, even without cooling technology, conditions would be no worse than Manaus, which is in the heart of the Amazon rain forest and hosted matches at the 2014 World Cup.

This was because, although Doha has higher temperatures than Manuas, it is less humid.

ECA chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge added: "Any kind of switch from summer to winter has to be done in a careful way to avoid harming anybody.

"The outcome of this hearing needs to be well-accepted by everyone, by the clubs, by the leagues, by the players and, of course, by the fans.

"That is our task, we are ready to take part and we hope the outcome will be acceptable, well received by everyone."

READ:Report on 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids finished

- Reuters


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