Europe fears chaotic World Cup switch

European clubs look set on a collision course with Fifa over radical plans to move the 2022 World Cup to the winter in order to avoid the searing summer heat of Qatar.

Fifa sources have confirmed that no fewer than three regular seasons would have to be overhauled to accommodate a switch, with as many as nine free weeks needed to cover the period before and after the tournament as well as the actual matches themselves.

Although there are more than 11 years to go, Fifa say that any move must be agreed by 2015. There are fears of widespread disruption to fixture schedules and commercial deals.

Even if the Premier League copied most of Europe and applied a winter break, it would not be nearly long enough. Three seasons – before, during and after the World Cup – would have start far earlier than usual and finish deep into the summer. "You would have to stop playing all the leagues by November," said one high-ranking Fifa source last night. "And you would have to start the new structure one season before the World Cup in order for it to be applied to 2021-22. I don't see how you could suddenly change."

Fifa's president, Sepp Blatter, revealed on Friday that his executive committee members had begun to discuss a winter World Cup even before last month's World Cup vote. Premier League sources are said to be seriously concerned at the prospect of dividing the season into two parts, and other leagues across Europe seem bound to be equally concerned. One alternative being mentioned is to start the European season in March and run it through to November.

Crucially, no mention of a switch was made in Qatar's original bid, which promised to use revolutionary cooling techniques for a June-July tournament, when temperatures in the emirate can reach 50C. Although Blatter will have stepped down by 2022, he is almost certain to run Fifa for another four years after this summer.

Last week, Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein, the president of the Jordan Football Association, caused a major upset by ousting Asia's long-standing Fifa vice- president, Chung Mong-Joon of South Korea. This is one of the most powerful positions in world football and significantly Prince Ali, a son of the late King Hussein and at 35 by far the youngest Fifa powerbroker, is a staunch ally of Blatter, who now seems increasingly likely to stand unopposed on 1 June for an unprecedented fourth term.

The Independent on Sunday has learned that Prince Ali is keen for Premier League clubs, and possibly even the England team, to visit Asia as part of a long-term programme to develop football in the region.

"This is one of the issues I want to tackle," he said. "It would be a great encouragement for countries in Asia to be able to see their heroes. England is like a second home to me."

Life and Style
love + sex
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all