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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan stars as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie
filmFirst look at Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey trailor
News
Lars Ulrich of Metallica performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
music
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
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

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game