Premier League remains opposed to winter World Cup, despite calls to switch 2022 tournament in Qatar

Summer heats in Qatar pose huge problems for football's greatest tournament

The Premier League today underlined its steadfast opposition to the prospect of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar being switched to the winter despite Sir Dave Richards, the league’s chairman, suggesting “common sense would prevail” and the finals moved from their traditional summer date.

Richards, speaking at an event in Qatar, claimed that while at present the Premier League – along with the rest of Europe’s leading clubs – remain opposed to any tinkering with the established calendar that may well change by the time the 2022 finals come around given due notice.

Richards, who steps down as the league’s chairman in June, said: “I think they will play [the World Cup] at a time that is proper for football but they will have to speak to the leagues in Europe. They will have to agree proper times when we can start and finish.

“At the moment it has a tremendous amount of implications for Europe. For us, at this minute, the answer is 'no'. But, if we take a proper view, we have to find a way to have a winter spell where we don't play and I think common sense will prevail.

“We’ve got FIFA now saying that medical people are saying that they can’t play in Qatar in the summer because of the heat, which is probably right. I think over the next few years, things will change and they will come to a compromise.”

The Premier League responded to their chairman’s words with a statement. It read: “The Premier League’s view remains unchanged. We are opposed to the concept of a winter World Cup for very obvious practical reasons that would impact on all of European domestic football.”

Support for a switch to the winter has been growing in recent months. Jim Boyce, Britain’s Fifa vice president, added his voice to those who believe it will happen, while Jerome Valcke, the world governing body’s general secretary, has previously raised the prospect for medical reasons. Daytime temperatures during the Qatari summer can reach 45c.

Boyce said: “The World Cup is the greatest event in football and from a spectator point of view it has to be played at a time of year when people can enjoy it in comfort. People I know who live in Qatar say it would be very uncomfortable for the fans. There is also a medical and health concern for both players and spectators and if it is going to be safer to play it in January instead of July then I would be in favour of that.

“Many other countries already have a winter break so for them it should not be too problematic. England is probably the main country where there is no winter break but I believe that even there if they are given enough notice then for just one season it should be possible.”

The likelihood of a winter World Cup remains though some way from reality given the strong opposition offered by Europe’s leading leagues and clubs. It would entail up to a 60-day interruption of their domestic seasons – much longer than any winter break. If Sepp Blatter, as he has hinted recently, is to run again for the Fifa presidency, and win it, it makes the prospect even less likely. Michel Platini, Uefa’s president and the biggest supporter of a switch, is likely to run in the next Fifa election but he does not have wide support outside Europe.

This is not the first time Richards has gone off message while on a trip to Qatar. A year ago he accused Fifa and Uefa of stealing football from England before stumbling into a water feature at a reception in a Doha hotel.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
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

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker