Just days after the new chairman of the Football Association in England claimed that hosting a summer World Cup in Qatar in 2022 would be “impossible”, Europe’s five biggest football leagues have written to ruling body FIFA to protest against the moving of the tournament to the winter months, it was reported.
The heads of the top football leagues in England, Spain, Germany, France and Italy have thrown their support behind a letter from Frederic Thiriez, chairman of the European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL), to FIFA president Sepp Blatter, which protests against moving the 2022 World Cup to a winter date.
A report in the Daily Mail claimed Thiriez told Blatter FIFA could “choose the venue of a World Cup but not alter the timing of the tournament without the consent of the leagues due to the complex logistics of the global football calendar.”
There has been much debate over the potential moving of the 2022 World Cup to a winter date to avoid the desert heat in Qatar during the summer months.
Last week, new chairman of the Football Association in England Greg Dyke, who took up his role in July, said he believes the tournament is likely to move to winter because of the heat.
Despite Qatar’s World Cup organising committee saying it is ready to host the tournament in summer, Dyke said in comments publised by the BBC: “Even if all the stadia are air-conditioned, I think it will be impossible for the fans.
“I think football is a winter game, that the public greatly enjoy their football through the winter and that we should think very carefully before we take football away from the public in the winter.”
He added: “My position, and I suspect the FA’s position, will be: ‘You can’t play it in the summer.'”
The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee told BBC Sport in a statement: “It was the right decision to award the World Cup to the Middle East for the first time in 2022.
“We are ready to host in summer or winter. We have always maintained that this issue requires the agreement of the international football community.
“A decision to alter the dates of the 2022 Fifa World Cup would not affect our infrastructure planning.”
Dyke, who visited Qatar in June, said: “FIFA have therefore got two choices. They can move it either time-wise or to another location. I suspect either will end up in some sort of litigation. But then someone should have worked that out in 2010 when it was awarded.”
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said in July that if the World Cup in Qatar in 2022 cannot be held in the summer, it should be moved to another country.
Speaking at the Premier League Asian Trophy in Hong Kong, and quoted in British newspapers, he expressed his worries that the 2022 World Cup will be moved from the European summer to winter months because of the intense heat in Qatar, thus disrupting his league.
Earlier last month, FIFA Sepp Blatter reiterated his concerns over a summer World Cup saying it should be moved to the winter with the FIFA executive committee meeting to discuss the issue in October.
It believed a final decision to green light a winter 2022 World Cup will be made at a two-day summit in Zurich in early October.