Players' union backs winter World Cup

The international players' union has backed calls to play the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in the winter instead of June and July - and claimed that players will be in better shape at that time of year.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter and general secretary Jerome Valcke have both thrown their weight behind moves to stage the tournament in January to avoid the heat problems.



Summer temperatures in Qatar can top 50 degrees C and players' union FIFPro said they are pleased at Fifa's willingness to consider changing the timing to winter.



Tijs Tummers, secretary of FIFPro's technical committee, said: "We will have to take a careful look at the international match calendar, but FIFPro does not foresee any insurmountable problems in this regard.



"Space will have to be made for the tournament, even though many countries already have a winter break.



"In Europe, competitive matches will have to be played in August and the second half of May and the first half of June. If you look at what happened last weekend with weather problems in Europe because of heavy snowfall, you could see this as an advantage rather than as a problem.



"And it might perhaps turn out that the players will be fitter at the start of a winter World Cup than was the case last summer at the World Cup in South Africa."



Tummers questioned the decision by Fifa have awarded Qatar the tournament based on playing in the summer.



He added: "It is not sensible to award a World Cup in the summer to a country with an average temperature of 41C in June and July, a midday temperature of 50C and above all, extremely high humidity.



"Tourists are advised not to travel to Qatar in the summer months. Inhabitants of Qatar leave the country en masse during this period. The summer months in Qatar also do not provide suitable conditions for a festival of football such as the World Cup should be, including for the supporters.



"The organisers have guaranteed that the temperature inside the stadiums and at the training centres will be reduced to 27C by means of air-conditioning.



"That is all well and good, but it obviously does not fit in with ecological thinking, which we expect to be even more widespread by 2022."



Qatar bid chiefs have insisted that their air conditioning of stadiums and training grounds would be 'carbon neutral' as it would be based on solar energy.

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