Winter World Cup not a done deal as Europe stands firm

Europe looking for compelling reasons to throw away over a century of scheduling tradition.

Europe’s clubs have cautioned that they do not consider a winter switch of the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar to be a done deal.

Milan executive Umberto Gandini represented the European Club Association at a Qatar timing task force meeting with world federation FIFA on Monday.

Reporting back after the latest ECA general meeting, Gandini insisted that it would take “very, very strong” arguments to persuade Europe’s clubs to throw over a century of scheduling tradition.

Gandini said: “We have been given information on reasons behind the task force, the problems relating to the Qatar World Cup and the intention of the FIFA executive committee to view alternative options.

“There is a road map which should deliver a common view on which is the preferred by March 2015 for the FIFA exco to make a decision.”

Having set out the process, Gandini then summed up the mood among the ECA clubs.

He said: “The important point we underlined, together with the English Premier League, is that we must get very strong and decisive reasons for moving the World Cup.

“For example, conditions in Manaus at the World Cup this year are no worse than the ones expected in Qatar at the same time of the year and we played many other World Cups when the weather conditions were not ideal for football.

“There are also the technological investments that the Qatar organising committee put on the table when they won the bid so we need more information before accepting that the calendar should be disrupted.

“So far the European game gives more than 75pc of the players at the World Cup and it will be very, very important to have strong arguments convince the European game to disprut its season to stage the World Cup in the winter.

“The the moment the options are very simple: to stay in the natural slot of June and July or go to January/February of November/December.

“Other options are not being presented but we have the liberty bring up other solutions if we feel they are better than those on the table now.”

Gandini said he was confident that the FIFA-led consutation was a “genuine process” and ECA chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge insisted that the clubs were serious partners in trying to reach “a result which is acceptable for everybody.”

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