Qatar 2022 World Cup: Arsenal manger Arsene Wenger welcomes winter World Cup

'I don't think it will impact too much,' Wenger said

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The Independent Football

Arsene Wenger dismissed suggestions a winter World Cup would bring chaos to English football and welcomed the move.

The Arsenal boss and other Barclays Premier League managers believe playing the 2022 Qatar tournament in the winter is the only option.

A FIFA task force revealed this week a recommendation to play the competition in November and December.

The European Clubs' Association will discuss its next move at a board meeting in Geneva on Tuesday after FIFA ruled out paying compensation for the disruption to club competitions.

But Wenger and several other managers, including Tim Sherwood, Roberto Martinez and Steve Bruce, believe there is time to plan ahead.


"I don't think it will impact too much," said Gunners boss Wenger. "I just think that if a World Cup is successful, that is very important because it's a world festival for football and it has to be organised in decent conditions, which would not be the case in the summer.

"I'm personally glad that, if we play the World Cup in Qatar, it is not during the summer because I would be concerned for the safety of people who attend there. That's why I think it was the only sensible decision to make."

Everton manager Martinez added: "From our point of view, as you do in football, you need to adapt to whatever the decision is and I'm sure they are going to organise a phenomenal tournament.

"I think now with the debate about whether it should be played in the winter or summer, there shouldn't be a debate. Once Qatar is given the organisation of the World Cup it has to be done in November/December."

Gareth Barry also agreed with his manager and insisted, from a player's point of view, a summer tournament would be unplayable.

"I have played a friendly in Qatar before in really tough heat and the level of football just wasn't there because of it," said the Toffees midfielder.

"Like with anything, there are going to be pros and cons. It is the World Cup, so let's be positive towards it - let's be excited for something different."

Villa boss Sherwood conceded teams and fans must get used to the idea because there is little they can do to stop it ahead of FIFA's final decision, which is expected on March 20.

He said: "It has to happen, it can't be played in the summer but unfortunately there's going to be a lot of disruption in Europe. We have to get on with it.

"What can we do? Nothing. The decision is made, if we're making a choice that they win the World Cup we have to get on with it. Winter time is the only option."

And Hull manager Bruce wants 2022 to mark the start of a winter break for the Barclays Premier League.

"I hope it's the start of a break. All round Europe there is a break, there's only us who carries on," he said. "That's the reason we don't have the success we want.

"I'm not just talking about the English players, I remember (in 2002) France were World Cup holders and most of the team were Premier League players when they tried to retain it and they were all shattered. They didn't get out of the group stages.

"For me it's the right decision. There's plenty of time to plan it, that's for certain."