October 5, 2013
WEB WATCH: Ken Masters
FOOTBALL was a game devised in British winters, as was cricket in English summers.
It has often occurred to me that playing major football international tournaments in hot summer climates does not exactly benefit players from the British Isles, not only the temperatures that games tend to be played in but more especially following on behind an intensive and long domestic winter season. To my mind, players have often looked tired and needing a break in June /July time; the World Cup finals in South Africa stand out as a relatively recent example.
The argument was always there of course that playing Euros and World Cup finals in the northern winter months would totally disrupt national league and cup competitions and would never happen, at least until now that is. The choice of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup finals raised a few eyebrows at the time of the announcement and what has become a predictable saga looks to run and run.
The leading news websites have not been slow to come forward with quotes and views from around the game’s operations and administration. This from AOL Sport: Football on September 19th.’Europe backs winter World Cup‘ “European countries have given their overall backing to moving the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to the winter, Britain’s FIFA vice president has confirmed. Jim Boyce, from Northern Ireland, said however the 54 UEFA associations meeting in Dubrovnik, Croatia, want FIFA to consult with the game’s major stakeholders before making any decision about exactly when the tournament is staged. FIFA’s executive committee is now expected to agree in principle to move the World Cup to the winter at its meeting in Zurich on October 3/4.
Boyce said; “What has come out of this meeting, and what I think is sensible, is an agreement by the UEFA countries that the World Cup cannot be played in Qatar in the summer. Everyone was certainly in agreement about that.”
Jim, we all thought it the minute that Blatter opened the envelope. Why has it taken so long for the powers that be to think it too? And there’s more, Jim goes on; “But what the 54 countries do not want FIFA to do is to make a decision yet on exactly when in year it is going to be played. “There is still nine years to go and people feel FIFA should sit down with all the major stakeholders and come up with a solution that would cause the minimum disruption to football,
“There is plenty of time to do that in my opinion, and hopefully football will be the winner.”
Let’s hope so Jim but there seems to be a lot of difficult issues here just as many of us predicted there would be and I cannot see the uncertainty becoming overcome in the near or even interim future. This looks like a saga that will run and run. In my view, the question is bound to be raised as to whether or not Qatar was a good choice at all. I am all for spreading the football message around the world, particularly the one that pronounces football as a universal force for good, but not at the cost of a debacle.
The AOL report goes further; “There could well be disagreements in the future however over whether it is played in January 2022 or November/December of that year.”The British associations told the meeting they want to make sure that the Christmas week is protected for domestic football, while UEFA chiefs favour January so that it would not impact on the Champions League.“FIFA are believed to favour November/December so tha. does not clash with the winter Olympics.”
There may be plenty of time but that time could easily be taken up with unresolved issues, no consensus, no agreement, no World Cup; well not in Qatar anyway.BBC Sport informed us (even if we did not already know);
“Qatar won a controversial bidding process to stage the competition, where summer temperatures can reach 50°C.”
BBC Sport went on to report Football Association chairman Greg Dyke as saying;
“The tournament might have to move location if a suitable time to play in Qatar could not be agreed, while FIFA’s own medical chief, Michel D’Hooghe, advised that the risks posed to supporters by extreme heat are too great.”
Oh really! Now that is the hot guestion! Not to play in Qatar at all? Now who would have thought so?
However, the head of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, Hassan al-Thawadi, has rejected calls for the tournament to be awarded to another country, despite FIFA president Sepp Blatter admitting the governing body may have made a mistake in awarding the competition to Qatar in the summer.
Well Sepp, the infrastructure, organisation and stadia are all over here, look no further and there will be a nice little super stadium for you to consider in Bristol too, well just outside actually, ish.