'Winter Olympics should be switched for World Cup'
European Clubs Asc says January & February would be ideal Qatar dates
The European Club Association, whose members include the UK's Premier League sides, said the 2022 Qatar World Cup should be played in January and February, at the expense of moving the Winter Olympics’ dates.
The proposal comes after assurances were given to the International Olympic Committee by FIFA president Sepp Blatter that there would be no clash between the events.
The European Club Association (ECA) is part of a FIFA task force put together to look at alternative dates for the World Cup in 2022, in order to avoid playing matches in extreme temperatures.
The time slots of January/February 2022 and November/December 2022 have been put forward as alternatives to June/July 2022 by the task force, as discussions continue about when the tournament should be held.
Although Qatar has insisted that a summer World Cup is viable thanks to cooling technologies it is developing for stadiums, training areas and fan zones, there is still widespread concern over the health of the players and visiting supporters.
ECA’s vice chairman, AC Milan director Umberto Gandini told The Telegraph newspaper that moving the Winter Olympics’ dates should be a possibility, particularly as the bidding process is still underway.
“If you are moving such a huge event, like the World Cup, from its natural window to winter, don’t tell me that it’s not possible to find a solution to move a little bit the Winter Olympics in order to avoid a clash – especially now where the Winter Olympics are still under the bidding process for 2022.
“There are two candidates, Beijing and Almaty, and no dates are set.
“So, I think that, with wisdom and debate, it is possible to achieve a solution that will satisfy the majority of the sports world,” he told The Telegraph.
He admitted that the entire FIFA task force has not yet agreed its preferred dates for the event.
“There is a preferred option for FIFA, which is November-December,” he said.
“There is a situation where, logically speaking, for Europe, considering the fact that probably 60 or 65% of the leagues have winter breaks because of climate reasons in Europe, a January-February window sounds to be a little bit more logical.”
ECA’s chairman, and Bayern Munich chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, said clubs expect to be compensated financially for any loss of income from a switch of the event.