(WFI) The European Club Association tells INSIDER it will recommend April-May as a “possible option” for the Qatar World Cup after its preferred January-February proposal was blocked by the IOC.
“The ECA is indeed considering alternatives to the November-December and January-February proposals. April-May seems to be a possible option,” a spokesman told INSIDER on Friday.
The official proposal from the ECA, which represents 214 members from 53 associations, will be presented at the next FIFA task force meeting about the Qatar World Cup on Nov. 3.
Earlier this month, the IOC said it would not consider the ECA’s proposal to move the 2022 Winter Olympics in January-February to accommodate the Qatar World Cup.
The IOC moved quickly to dismiss comments made by ECA vice chairman Umberto Gandini, who advocated the controversial move at a London football conference. It effectively ended the lobbying campaign to move the Qatar competition to January-February in 2022, the traditional slot for the Winter Games. The IOC said it had “received assurances from president Blatter” that there would be no clash with the Winter Games, which will take place in either Almaty, Kazakhstan or Beijing.
Led by Asian football boss Sheikh Salman Ebrahim al Khalifa, the FIFA task force of World Cup stakeholders is currently examining alternate dates for the 2022 tournament to avoid the Gulf nation’s searing summer temperatures.
There was another twist in the World Cup saga today.
At the Association of European Professional Football Leagues’s general assembly in Stockholm, members agreed that the FIFA showpiece should remain in the Qatari summer, when temperatures can reach 50 degrees.
“The EPFL considers that any re-scheduling of the World Cup would be damaging the domestic competitions and leagues’ business and sporting interests,” EPFL chairman Frédéric Thiriez said in a statement.
The leagues’ body is expected to push for compensation if the FIFA task force decides to relocate the World Cup from June-July.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said on several occasions, including this week, that the November-December window is the best option for the Qatar World Cup. But this would have major repercussions for Europe’s domestic leagues and UEFA’s Champions League competition.
Despite concerns from FIFA’s medical chief and other football officials about the impact of Qatar’s fierce summer heat on players’ welfare, 2022 organizers maintain that they have the air-cooling technology to deliver on bid book promises for a summer World Cup.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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