BBC BLOGS - David Bond
« Previous | Main | Next »

Is winter World Cup on cards?

Post categories:

David Bond | 16:26 UK time, Friday, 17 December 2010

Sepp Blatter's apology over his crass comments about gay sex in Qatar might have attracted most of the attention on Friday but his remarks about the possibility of staging the first winter World Cup are perhaps far more significant.

Two weeks after the oil rich Arab emirate was awarded the rights to stage the 2022 World Cup, a bandwagon is already rolling to try and move the competition from its usual place in the football calendar in June and July to January to avoid the scorching heat of summer in the Middle East.

First Fifa executive committee members and ex-players Franz Beckenbauer and Michel Platini floated the idea. Then on Thursday Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke said "why not?" when asked whether the event could be moved.

Then, on Friday, this from Blatter:

"I definitely support to play in winter here [in the Middle East]. To play when the climate is appropriate and I'm thinking about the footballers, not only the fans but the actors."

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

Now all this makes absolute sense. It could be as hot as 50 degrees in June/July in Qatar and for all the bid's plans for air-conditioned stadiums, Fifa's technical inspectors graded Qatar's bid high risk. This is what they said about the heat:

"The fact that the competition is planned in June/July, the two hottest months of the year in this region, has to be considered as a potential health risk for players, officials, the Fifa family and spectators, and requires precautions to be taken".

Those precautions now seem to involve moving the event to a cooler time of the year.

Countries which missed out to Qatar in the race for 2022, such as the United States and Australia, were already feeling sore about the process. This is only going to add to their sense of injustice.

But, while it has always traditionally been held in the summer, there is nothing in its own statutes or regulations which requires Fifa to stage the World Cup at that time of year.

The regulations for each World Cup are different and the exact scheduling for Brazil 2014 is still being pinned down, although Valcke did say this week it was likely to be from 6 June-6 July or between 13 June and 13 July.

Even the bidding requirements given to those nations who entered the contests for 2018 and 2022, leave Fifa sufficient wiggle room.

Fifa states: "In principle the Fifa World Cup should be staged in June/July but this could be subject to change at any stage."

The only real impediment - and this is a bit like saying the only thing between England and the Ashes is Australia - is the international match calendar which is subject to difficult negotiation between all the confederations, clubs and leagues around the world.

Fifa says this tends to be worked out two or three seasons in advance while it is also worth noting qualification for the World Cup starts three and a half years out from the finals.

So it is not simply a matter of Fifa and Qatar 2022 organisers choosing a date and leaving the rest of football to sort out the small print.

With 12 years to go until Qatar 2022 there is a lot of time to work all these issues out.

But with Europe's big clubs certain to resist any attempt to move the tournament, the battle lines are being drawn extremely early.


Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Not to be sentimental, but if these doubts were already being had by FIFA when they voted.......

  • Comment number 2.

    FIFA proving what an absolute joke they are. Too busy counting the their new bank balances to consider what the hell they were going to do about the desert heat!

    12 years to go so lots of time to work out these issues? Are FIFA hoping climate change brings about a new ice age creating some temperate climate in the Middle East?

    I hope they are ashamed, if FIFA dare try and move the WC to January I hope the FA disband from Blatter and his joke of an organisation, let's hope all other major league countries (Spain, France, Germany and Italy) do as well. The longer we let them get away with acts like this the more of a farce global football will become!

  • Comment number 3.

    Blatter said, "I definitely support to play in winter here [in the Middle East]. To play when the climate is appropriate and I'm thinking about the footballers, not only the fans but the actors." Actors??? Is he meaning those players who fall over when looked at in the penalty area?...or is this going to be a new FIFA initiative?..."FIFA World Cup:The Motion Picture".

    As for the winter world cup...why not hold it in Greenland? Oops, I forgot...they are not a FIFA member.

    I think the big leagues in Europe would accomodate a winter WC. And would England even qualify...? Plenty of time to sort it out (both the WC and England).

  • Comment number 4.

    Qatar was always a strange choice to me, dont get me wrong the stadiums they will build will be amazing. However this is a small country with no sporting legacy, the political problems which it could throw up ie alchol,anti homosexual,anti Israel etc could provide massive problems.In addition there will be huge challenges to face either the heat or the winter world cup with many european countries will strongly oppose. The fact that they won over the USA and Australia was extremly puzzling, in fact the latter has never even hosted the world cup before but would have been the perfect strong non controversial sporting nation to host the WC. As much as I was opposed to the successful Russian bid I least can see why, as the WC would help Russia develop its housing and transport like with Brazil SA etc while brining the competion to Eastern europe, Qatar is a small rich country and needs no such help. So why did they win??? FIFA once again give me and many others in the sporting world a unwelcome suprise.

  • Comment number 5.

    It's madness, from start to finish madness. 1.5 million people, no football history, unplayable temperatures, unworkable laws + OIL = World Cup.

    I'm not from any the nations who made a bid, but I'm a huge football fan, and I think we're the ones who will miss out in this political minefield. The club season will be ruined and we'll have footballs showcase with reduced atmosphere in portacabin stadiums, I don't get it.

    Fifa may want to develop the game in new areas but surely that shouldn't come at the cost of alienating those who already love the game.

  • Comment number 6.

    and Blatter will have his Nobel Peace Prize

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    I agree 100% with #5

    I live in Mexico and they have a weird system where there are 2 championships every year. The first one is over and the second doesn't begin until mid January ie no games over Christmas.

    I like the way that in England you can take in a couple of games while you have holidays. In theory, footballers are entertainers and working while everyone else is on holiday is one of the drawbacks. I think that they get handsomely rewarded for the sacrifice.

    If the World Cup is on over winter you take away that opportunity to see your own team games live.

    A radical but poorly thought out move by FIFA and Blatter. Typical of his administration.

  • Comment number 9.

    Why should European leagues accommodate on this? UEFA and FIFA will have to tread very carefully on this because I believe the top European clubs will use this as a bargaining chip on player compensation for International duty and a number other of issues from how FIFA is run, money from WC etc. The ultimate sanction could be European clubs quitting their associations and aligning to form their own governing body.

    Either way, the position of European clubs is going to be very strong when the discussions start. There is nothing to stop leagues refusing to change schedules. Top clubs with international players will be at a severe disadvantage from having their players back after a WC and going immediately back in to Champions League football. The Real Madrid, Barcelonas, Man Utd, Chelsea's will be wanting something from FIFA.

  • Comment number 10.

    "7. At 6:08pm on 17 Dec 2010, Murray wrote:

    Why all the fuss about the gay thing. When the World Cup was in England in 1966, homosexuality was still illegal in Britain. Did anyone complain about it then?"

    Definitely the most hilariously wrong headed justification of this that you could've come up with.
    Society was intollerant and backward in the 60s, therefore no-one should complain if intollerance is rewarded 50 years later.
    There is no logic in that stance.

  • Comment number 11.

    Qatar bid for a summer world cup, they knew that. Changing it would be an utter disgrace.

  • Comment number 12.

    FIFA moving the goalpost. The temperature shouldn't really matter, with Qatar planning carbon-neutral fully air-conditioned stadiums.

    Someone should have told Blatter that Winter in Australia falls between June-August.

  • Comment number 13.

    Just when you though it couldn't get any more stupid! I have always loved the World Cup but I'd be quite happy for England to boycott 2022. It's time for the big teams in Europe to use their muscle and vote with their feet. Every other world cup should be in Europe. The World Cup should belong to the teams that created and popularised football.

    It's not a campaign to spread the word or a political plaything. With over 200 affiliated country there's no need to spread the message here. We can either disrupt the domestic leagues of virtually all the major nations or move the actual world cup somewhere cooler?

  • Comment number 14.


    You made a very good point.

    After a world cup players still get a good few weeks rest, yet still show sines of being tired when they restart their seasons.

    Would this be the case should the world cup be held in January? Or would they simply resume football with their clubs the following week?

    This would also have an effect on the teams battling it out in the relegation zones. Some would have to play the big guns before the break and some after, you'd surely want the latter if the internationals are worn out!

  • Comment number 15.

    Why not move the Earth instead so that the sun faces the South Pole in June?

  • Comment number 16.

    I think we should get Barry Hearn to start a rival World Cup under the guidence of a new governing body, we'll call if WIFA or something and get Iam Holloway to run it!

  • Comment number 17.

    or Ian

  • Comment number 18.

    How many fans can get time off work in January?
    Many have to accrue days, depending on months worked!

  • Comment number 19.

    Having lived in the Middle east, and attempted to play sport in summer, I can confirm that it is indeed a nightmare. Regular water breaks are needed and the only possible sports to get involved in are swimming and golf (only with a golf cart). Another problem is that any Israelis are not allowed into Arab countries... What happens if Israel qualify. That will pose an interesting problem for FIFA and the Arab states...

  • Comment number 20.

    International associations will be paying clubs to release their players for International duty by 2022. Therefore the national associations will want more money from FIFA and the World Cup, so they can pay clubs to release players.

  • Comment number 21.

    Whilst the idea of moving the world cup from summer to winter is feasible, the fact that fifa want to consider it highlights the fact that qatar shouldn't have been chosen to host the tournament.

    As it stands with a summer WC, some of the countries have to break from their normal league shcedules to participate, such as russia and sweden, though russia do intend to change to a european style schedule. Plus we already see the running of the African nations, though clearly not as big as the WC, during january/february. Not only that but several european nations run a winter break anyway, so disruption may not be as bad for them as us.

    Having said all that however, i feel that FIFA are in the wrong to have chosen qatar to host the 2022 WC. I said at the time it's irresponsible to host a sporting tournament in such heat, despite their new style stadiums designed to cope, as well in such a small country. This isn't even considering the implications of their views on alcohol/homosexuality. I agree with the FIFA directive of expanding football to new areas, but surely if they were so worried about these problems at the time of the vote then Australia should have been chosen.

    The news of this clearly highlights the fact that the voting system is flawed, that problems are not taken into account before decisions and are merely reacted to. Hopefully we'll see enough of a backlash to get FIFA to alter their voting system to be more transparent and clear, where bid reports (russia and qatar were the most risky options for both votes) are taken into account. I do not hold my breath however.

  • Comment number 22.

    You say the only real impediment is the international match schedule, but what about domestic schedules, player overload, injuries and squad training and selection???

    World cup squads traditionally get together for 2 or 3 weeks before the kick-off, so that means that the domestic season will have to be stopped for 6-7 weeks. Does that mean the season will start in July and finish in June to accommodate the weeks off?

    Players will not have had any time off before joining the international squad meaning they will arrive after the first 4-5 months of a demanding domestic schedlue, and if WC is planned for January then after a very demanding holiday period.

    If held in the winter it is probable that more players will be unavailable for selection due to injury, more players will get injured during the WC and have no time to recover before going straight back to work in their league.
    Last minute injuries will impact team selection too, When will the final squad be named? Right in the middle of the season while players are still playing?

    The whole idea is a recipe for disasterl!
    Without making wholesale changes to dozens of domestic leagues this is a totally impractical and dangerous scheme.

  • Comment number 23.

    @20 You really think clubs would except national teams to just pay them for the release of their players? You obviously don't understand where the power of World football lies or where the loyalty of the players lie (especially evident in the England squad).

    This isn't rugby or cricket, club football is becoming more and more prioritised over the International game, and this is only going to get worse for National sides by 2022. Start putting bets on for an African nation to win in Qatar, whether it's played in June/July (due to the heat) or in January (Only African players will be willing to leave their clubs for a national competition)

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    And besides 99.5% of us who watch the World Cup watch it on TELEVISION! So really, why worry about the heat,
    if the games are in heat controlled arenas then the fans and players will be OK

  • Comment number 26.

    If this ever goes ahead, and that's still debatable, imho, then playing the matches at night will be the only safe way to run the tournament, for both players, and the few fans that turn up.

    I can see a boycott of this particular WC in the future, with countries offering a variety of excuses for not turning up.

  • Comment number 27.

    Makes every sense to hold it in the winter, but let's hope that the Premier League immediately state that it will be business as usual that year and clubs will not be releasing players, and that the FA will add that they will not be partaking in the competition.
    What is more important, another sponsorship-filled, monotonous world cup or the English Premier League? No contest in my book.

  • Comment number 28.

    worst idea since russia's bid for the world cup

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    Re: 23
    @20 You really think clubs would except national teams to just pay them for the release of their players? You obviously don't understand where the power of World football lies or where the loyalty of the players lie (especially evident in the England squad).

    Yes, I understand that power is moving to clubs! That is my point! Why should any club release a player to play for another team?
    The clubs are already pushing for player compensation for players injured on International duty, why should clubs pay the wages of world class players during the World Cup?
    I can foresee this coming to a crunch and the clubs will win. This will affect the less wealthy associations who will have to pay $500,000 to get a player released for a tournament.

    We are moving to a position much like the NFL or NBA, where clubs/teams form their own association and thus make the rules. I can see a situation where the English Premier League break from the FA.


    Re 25 cliveeta wrote:
    And besides 99.5% of us who watch the World Cup watch it on TELEVISION! So really, why worry about the heat,
    if the games are in heat controlled arenas then the fans and players will be OK


    The stadiums haven't been proven to work on the scale promised. And I have been to 4 of the last 6 WC's, just because you watch on TV is a bit "I'm alright Jack". Besides, if that is your attitude, lets do away with spectators and just play for TV views. Saves building stadiums, just have 10 pitches and play the World Cup on those.
    The other issue is all 32 teams need playing facilities-which are not there!

    I live where the temperatures get to 120' and it isn't fun for playing or watching. You burn after 15-20 minutes in direct sunlight-even with high factor sunscreen.

  • Comment number 31.

    So 2 weeks after an already dodgy vote FIFA are now changing the criteria. They have good form for shifting the goal posts - anyone remember how FIFA panicked at the thought of Germany, France and Portugal not reaching the last world cup so decided at the last minute to seed the play-offs. I actually hope they go ahead with this daft plan because I think you may find most European clubs not releasing players and it may hopefully accelerate some form of rival organisation being set up that is fit to run football. I have said it before FIFA do not own football but they are doing their best to ruin it and unfortunately at the moment noone is doing anything about it. The other funny thing that came out of todays press conference is the idea that other arab states might host some of the matches. When Scot/Ire bid for the 2008 euros they were told under no crcumstances would St James Park be allowed. They were also told they couldnt use multiple stadia in one city funny how all Qatars stadia are within 60 miles. Sepp needs to go and fast before the game is damaged beyond repair

  • Comment number 32.

    sorry if this has already been mentioned....

    how come this idea of a winter world cup wasnt brought up during the bid process?

    quite handy for FIFA to announce it now the deal is already done. before the voting i read on this website about the air-conditioned stadia, and an interview from an engineer, "bring it on" he said, as though a summer world cup wouldn't be a problem.

    SSN also suggested that Qatar might not even host all of the games, with other emirate countries being involved too.... WTF is going on here?

  • Comment number 33.

    Sepp Blatter and the entire FIFA executive committee must be jokers in the pack in considering a winter world cup. I thought the entire idea of bidding and bid presentation was to determine the best positioned country to host the football fiesta. Going by this, Australia and the US had the best technical and economic bid.
    Blatter and cohorts were so easily carried away by the illusion of air conditioned stadia. I would also wish by extension they (Qatar) build air conditioned highways and walkways for the fans when temperature soars to 50 degrees centigrade!
    FIFA should note that UEFA is the strongest regional association and contributes to the bulk of its income, and disrupting the domestic calendar for a January world cup is going to have catastrophic consequences. Perhaps I call on the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue One and all major European leagues to resist this attempt.
    Perhaps another classic case of petro dollars obtunding the senses of FIFA executive committee!

  • Comment number 34.

    I wish we lived in a world where the major European leagues could show enough unity to stand against a Winter WC, but if it comes to that I fully expect there'll be a lot of talk about boycotts but no action.

    I have nothing against Qatar, but some countries have to accept that they are not suitable for major events. The UK for example, will never host the Winter Olympics - we haven't the climate, facilities or national interest in them. Qatar lacks all of these things, and more, when it comes to football.

  • Comment number 35.

    I like many of the people commenting am a big football fan and love the WCs when they come around.. The difference is I dont see the problem?.. Yes it was a bit of a strange choice to host given countless reasons (e.g. size, wealth, heat, laws etc..) But the WC is a competition that is normally staged June/July because that's when the club off-season is.

    Of course that's not normally a problem (other than a couple of clubs that complain about player's fitness/injuries when they return) but what would these same clubs think if their players came back in even worse condition through dealing with the intense heat!? There would be a bigger upraw than there would be for hosting in January!

    It is a simple solution that basically "shifts" the clubs off-season to January so a few players fitness may affect the 2nd half of that season instead of the start of the next.. It's all relative though!

    The biggest debate should be what was the reasoning behind them getting the bid (*cough* MONEY *cough*), not when the comp. will be held!

  • Comment number 36.

    I think this just gives FIFA an excuse to create a winter option for future world cups. I can see sepp and the boys want the world cup to go to unknown territories. So to create a January option doesnt seem far fetched. You know these boys will just roll over tradition and really couldnt much care for anyone else's league play. It is World Cup after all, and everyone will be showing up and bowing down to them anyways. Plus at least half of the teams listed with FIFA would like a January option as well. So i would say they are goign to think about it and do it. using that same justification they used to give Qatar and Russia World cups they shouldnt have gotten if the Sepp team were using there brains.
    It should also be noted Qatar hasnt applied to host it in Winter. But i think FIFA will just give them the option.

    I am actually not against Qatar holding a world cup, i just think the Aussies should have got it, it would have been a lot more fun, a middle eastern world cup is going to be boring for sure. A family world cup, no booze, no women, no fights, and very little hard core cheering, it is going to be hard to wear anything other then appropriate attire walking through DOHA, and i am almost 100% certain this will be a dry world cup.

    Ohhh it is starting to come together, the reason for Qatar, excuse for january world cup, excuse for dry world cup, and a chance to land some more Arabian fans and their oil money. Ohh Sepp it makes perfect sense, you bleeding heart naive nice guy, give those a chance that wouldnt normally have had a chance.

    And to all those middle eastern fans reading this blog, Qatar isnt ready, no matter how happy you are about it. Al Queda has already made threats, the other middle eastern countries are posturing to get a piece of the action, Qatar doesnt have enough experience hosting world events yet, and the people of the middle east arent ready for the world of soccer fans to show up on their doorstep.

  • Comment number 37.

    It would be interesting to see what the clubs, who pay the players wages, think of having their season(s) messed about because of 1 world cup. Most countries play winter football & I doubt if they want to change it as a one off. The costs would be astronomical. I think Blatter may have bitten off more than he can chew this time.

  • Comment number 38.

    FIFA is being ridiculous.
    Okay, the Brazilian league could do with a break in January, as it is swelteringly hot in Brazil in January, but it's the Premiership that matters, not the Brazilian league.
    The Premiership has loads more money than the Brazilian league, and as we all know, money is all that counts. And FIFA have the brass neck to dare to even suggest inconveniencing a rich league like the Premiership??? Doesn't it understand that this is totally unacceptable???

  • Comment number 39.

    FIFA has decided to go for high risk venues for the World Cup - then they should stick to the bidding criteria i.e. summer air conditioned stadia. Why try to change the rules after the vote?

  • Comment number 40.

    How can they possibly consider playing matches in other Middle Eastern countries as part of the "Quatar" world cup? Surely it should have been a joint bid in order for this to take place.
    In addition, the heat should have also been considered prior to granting a "summer" world cup to Quatar. And if it was taken into account - then why change the timing?
    As one of the previous posters has said "You can't change the goal posts after the winning bid has been chosen!"
    FIFA should not now be bending over backwards to ensure the Quatar World Cup tournament can go off with out problems! That is what the bidding process is for in the first place - determining the most suitable place to hold the tournament - is it not?
    So tell us please what is really going on here!

  • Comment number 41.

    Not sure who it was but someone above posted about playing the matches at night, which come to think of it is actually much more feasible - rather than move it to January. Reminds me of the Americans spending millions on a space pen when they could have used a pencil.

    Just the fact that they actually have to consider moving the world cup is insane, plus it's not even the worst thing. What will the Israelis do if they qualify? Just have their matches computer simulated? And the whole gay situation is farcial.

    Perhaps England, America and Australia can learn from this. Next time instead of putting forward conventional ideas such as good stadiums and sound infrastructure, we'll just see who can come up with the most outrageous suggestions/ ludicrous ideas.

  • Comment number 42.

    A winter World Cup is a smashing idea! Don't know why no one thoughtof it before. I just knew there had to be a good reason why Blatter keeps getting re-elected FIFA monarch for life. But why wait for Qatar in 2022? It should be tried out before then to make sure it would really work smoothly. The 2018 WC in Russia should be an ideal opportunity to stage the first winter World Cup! Go to it, Sepp!

  • Comment number 43.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 44.

    Lets stick with Summer World Cups for now and the future

    Its sill good idea from FIFA to chose the World Cup to be hosted in a very hot country like Qatar. This is very new territory for the World Cup and no one knows what will happen for this World Cup. Even if the matches in Qatar are played at 40 - 50C, they said they will have massive air conditioners in the stadium to cool both the players and the supporters in the stadium

    With all the new technology available and are been made now in the modern world, Qatar have found the way to solve this temperature problem and I think there is no chance of it being moved to the winter.

  • Comment number 45.

    So ... the Premier League shuts down for all of December to give the players a rest and allow the squads to get together ... they play theWC in January ... and then they all have another rest for February.

    The season resumes in March, adds another three months until the league is done. Sounds easy. Except then they have to play the English games all through the heat of July. Hard pitches mean more injuries, water shortages mean they'll be playing on concrete.

    And guess when the next season starts ... about 3 weeks later!

    This crazy idea could cost everybody BUT FIFA a LOT of money!

    They could always air condition the whole of Qatar if we could get the hot air from FIFA turned down a bit :)

  • Comment number 46.

    I actually think moving the World Cup to winter may actually be a good idea and probably return the spectacle back to the World Cup. Let's face it the last time we had a good World Cup was 1998 - the game has sped up so much and there is so much football played during the NH winter pro season that come summer and World Cup time, all the stars are exhausted and completely off-form (Ronaldo, Rooney, Torres, Drogba, etc. were all disappointing at the last World Cup and they're usually stars). By playing the World Cup in winter, stars would be at peak form and the World Cup would definitely be the spectacle it was.

  • Comment number 47.

    To be honest fifa have no leg to stand on. The fact that they are considering changing the time of year means that they are not convinced that the cooling technology will be up to it. Which begs the question why they chose Qatar in the first place.

    The world cup has now become Blatter's and Fifa's largest and most effective source of income due to all of the advertising etc.

    Fifa constantly say that the world cup should leave some kind of legacy in the country one that creates fundamental change in countries infrastructure, an area of criticism in the British bid. Yet I struggle to see how in a country as rich yet as small as Qatar there can be any legacy considering all of the stadium are going to be dismantled after the tournament.

  • Comment number 48.

    "I definitely support to play in winter here [in the Middle East]. To play when the climate is appropriate and I'm thinking about the footballers, not only the fans but the actors."

    So Qatar put in a bid to host the Cup when the climate wasn't appropriate, and they clearly weren't thinking about the players or the fans. That must be why they won.

    But it's OK. We've got 12 years. Just think what could be achieved. In a mere 8 the UK press might have become FIFA friendly, but no-one thought of that. But in 12 - yes @15 is right - we could turn the world upside down. Anything's possible. We might even get rid of Blatter by then...

  • Comment number 49.

    What is the general opinion from other major football countries? were they as exasperated as the English?
    Is a boycott possible?
    I am all for it, but how about letting someone other than the English start it, maybe Argentina or Spain.

  • Comment number 50.

    I personally think everyone is being a bit narrow minded here. Its called the world cup for a reason, its not the Euros. Why shouldn't the World Cup be held in the middle East for the first time?

    Qatar is a safer place than England (ranked 16th in the world i think), the second largest religion in the world is Muslim, and football is absolutely massive in the region, not just in qatar.

    Alcohol is not illegal as everyone is saying, and all the stadiums are within 1hrs travel meaning you could see 3 matches in one day. Lets not forget there is only 2 hrs time difference so most people on here complaining, that are not going to travel to this world cup can watch at normal hour rather than watching the matches in the wee hours (Korea, Japan, Australia, USA). And they're going to dismantle half the stadium and give to poor developing nations.

    I agree the weather is still a big issue, there are many more things going for it than some of you on here might think. I don't think it's too much to ask that one world cup in nearly 100 years is played in winter if that is the case, and let some other nations enjoy hosting and visiting a world cup that would be unique.

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 52.

    Why have all of this debate when they could just change the time of kick offs for the tournament, keep it in june-july keep the air con if they want and just play the matches at night. Players and fans won't burn and it will make it easier for fans to watch it unlike in the past when the matches have been at awkward times for people who were working.
    Problem solved no??

  • Comment number 53.

    What will happen to the Champions League? Knockout stage always starts in January, so will that be postponed for a month, 2 months?

    If we can be bothered to turn up, perhaps we will field a side drawn entirely from The Championship?

    I wonder what could have persuaded the FIFA Committee to choose the incredibly rich 'money is no object' oil state in the first place. They did promise to build air conditioned stadia (?) I would suggest that FIFA & the individuals involved be forced to pay for a carbon offset against the environmental damage caused.

  • Comment number 54.


    The way the PL is going it's quite likely anyway that the England side will all be playing in the Championship by then.

  • Comment number 55.

    Hmmm - somehow I don't think that football clubs in England would be happy to have a two month shutdown with the consequent loss of income.

  • Comment number 56.

    How is this the first winter World Cup
    The last one was held in winter, I think that we are forgetting that the seasons are opposite, our summer is South Africa's winter and vise-versa.

  • Comment number 57.

    Am I wrong in think that every other league in the World, apart from Europe, has a break in it's league for a World Cup? Do the Brazilians and Argentines whine as much about these things?

    Having said that I personally think we should not be going to Qatar anyway, I think we should boycott the Qatar World Cup for the attitude they have towards homosexuality. I am amazed that this is not more of an issue and hope that it will be by the time this joke of a World Cup arrives.

  • Comment number 58.

    Hey you never know how the FIFA officials think, they may believe due to climate change it could be possible to host a WC in July in Qatar. Probably taken The Day After Tomorrow a bit too seriously.

  • Comment number 59.

    surely this has got to be the beginning of the end for fifa and for eufa too if it supports this idiocy of moving the european leauge schedules about, time fifa and eufa were put in their place or better still european countries and clubs forming their own governing body and telling blatter to shove it where the sun d`ont shine, in giving world cup to qatar blatter and co have out done even their normal levels of stupidity

  • Comment number 60.

    Blatter's finally lost the plot.

    Premier League clubs and clubs from other important European nations just wont allow this. I cant see them having it for a second.

    Blatter's handling of this whole mess has been shambolic, and in my honest opinion, immoral.

    I would like to see his resignation, but then again, I have wished for that before many times, over a long period. This man just wont go away and I've ended up hating the World Cup anyway. Have'nt bothered watching the last 3 of them, international football is becoming meaningless for me personally. Blatter's handling of the recent vote and everything since has killed any enthusiasm I had left creeping around in my heart.

  • Comment number 61.

    This just shows the motivation for awarding the World Cup to Qatar for FIFA. They leave out the sensible option because it isn't as financially rewarding.

  • Comment number 62.

    Interesting article! Because of the heat I think it needs to be considered...FIFA have to create a mess to get themselves out of another one!

    Interesting that seasons are playing a big part in football news this week, Sam Allardyce has said that youth football should be played in the summer! Have a read of my blog post looking at this...

  • Comment number 63.

    Surely the perfect opportunity to remove the dictator Batter from his seat of power. If any other politician or world leader made such discriminatory remarks, they would immediately be forced to resign.

    Having said that - and even though I am a cricket lover too - I do think that serious consideration should be given to our football season falling into line with the rest of the world: March>June and August>November. This would have a number of advantages:

    i) Better weather conditions for afternoon and evening matches - resulting in more pleasant spectating conditions for all ages and sexes; and better playing conditions for quality training and to encourage more skill-based play.
    ii) Two extended breaks will assist in injury prevention and recovery - and help England's chances in the World Cup, as it would fall in mid-season rather than at the end of a long season with no break.
    iii) Less cost to clubs with regard to dealing with wintry conditions - and probably more income from larger crowds (who would find travelling easier) and enhanced commercial backing.

    I am struggling to think of any major disadvantages.

  • Comment number 64.

    A winter World Cup would surely be a good thing for England's prospects in the competition. It would be easier to deal with the weather and all our players wouldn't be exhausted. They would still lack technique, skill and the mentality, but at least we be hot!

  • Comment number 65.

    Of course, if the 2022 World Cup is moved to the winter, that means there will be a gap in the summer. England and the USA should take the opportunity to jointly organise a friendly tournament with the world's leading nations invited. 16 teams, four groups - two in the US and two in England - quarter/semi finals in both countries and the final at Wembley. Show the world how the 2018 and 2022 tournaments could have been if FIFA had followed the advice of their own technical committee and chosen the best-qualified hosts.

  • Comment number 66.

    Of course, that should say "wouldn't be hot."

  • Comment number 67.

    Said Platini to his sidekick Sepp Blatter
    "We'll hand this to Quatar on a platter,
    Fans will cry "what a crime" when we reschedule the time,
    We are boss so it really don't matter."

    Unfortunately this is not too far from the truth and someone has to test these people, hats off to Ian Holloway,hopefully managers sitting on the fence will support you.

  • Comment number 68.

    @63 "If any other politician or world leader made such discriminatory remarks, they would immediately be forced to resign."

    Unfortunately Berlusconi appears to prove the opposite.

  • Comment number 69.

    Ian Holloway for FIFA President!
    I thoroughly enjoy his improv. It's as entertaining as the say Blackpool plays. I loved it when he said, "And you can quote me on that," and all the time he knew the camera and mikes were on. Great stuff.

    On a less serious note, money makes the world go around. That's reality! Oil equals money. Who knows, maybe 12 years from now the US will have invaded Qatar, hanged their leader and claimed a sham victory?

    In the mean time I'm with 'ollie!'

  • Comment number 70.

    #13 Did you know that the 2018 World Cup is being held solely in the European cities of Russia?

    Or did you not know that cities like Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kazan are in Europe despite their clubs regular appearances in the UEFA Champions League?

  • Comment number 71.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 72.

    a world cup in january,what the hell? perfect for australians,but what about europe,the continent where fifa fat cats grab all there money from,with the best fans,manic support,total obsession with football,highest tv audiences

    what have the european clubs got to say,i hope stick a january world cup where it don't shine,how can fifa be so blinded by oil barrels and
    barrels of cash,are they stupid or something,there is a reason why the middleast is a wasteland for 1000s of years,when the oil is gone it will be a empty camel,goat and sheep invested wasteland again.

    why do the clubs have to change when fifa are so corrupt they dont know basic world climates,the yanks i think wont care it is thier off season there so happy days.

    i hope the clubs say NO and if they try and force them boycott football because the european clubs(real,barca,manu) hold all the power

  • Comment number 73.

    Go for it Blatter! It could leave the way open for a rival World Cup set up in the summer involving the best countries. Then you eliminate all the meaningless qualifying matches involving small football nations that should be playing their own playoffs to reach a higher level anyway. Everyone's a winner!

  • Comment number 74.

    I am an expat living in the Middle East - in Abu Dhabi. Do people realise that ANY activity in July and August done outside any air-conditioned environment is inadvisable day or night! At night the minimum (not maximum) is an average of 29 degrees with high humidity. Not only the games, but all training would have to be done in the air-conditioned stadiums. Everyone leaves in droves from Abu Dhabi and Dubai in summer because of the oppressive weather. Winter is nice. This isn't an argument in favour of a winter world cup, just another statement of dismay - Ian Holloway is dead right. The selection process is where major details are decided, not AFTER the awarding of the WC.

  • Comment number 75.

    I am a great football fan but how can the staging of a World Cup be "far more significant" than a basic human right - that of the right to one's sexuality? This is almost as crass as comment 7. What age are we living in?

  • Comment number 76.

    Mr. Bond how on earth can you say "perhaps far more significant?" If one of my students wrote that I would be telling them to think again about the point they were trying to make. Is it significant or not? -:)

  • Comment number 77.

    I am betting that the Qatar World Cup will never happen. Investigations are already under way into the whole FIFA fiasco. 12 years is plenty of time to get the whole of FIFA replaced and transparency installed

  • Comment number 78.

    I have a idea lets have a bid off between the counties that have everything needed to host a great World Cup, So Spain/Portugal, Holland and England might just get the a fair chance. Simple things like picking the correct hosts and noticing the conditions football is best played in once again shows the people running the greatest show on earth have not got a clue what football fans want and expect of there games showpiece event. The World Cup should be a celebration for everybody who loves football yet Fifa just want there coffers full and will lurch from disaster to disaster. Could football fans of any country approach these delegates and have a conversation about football? Football is a language that most people in the world understand but Fifa seem to want to use the tournament to drive a wedge between the people who own the game the fans.

  • Comment number 79.

    It's over a decade away, who cares? By then, Blatter will be long gone, we'll probably be able to control the weather and, even more outlandishly, a country like Qatar might have developed civilized attitudes towards gays, women, etc.

  • Comment number 80.

    I don't know if anyone else has picked up on this but it seems that FIFA have completely ignored any bids from any countries that were bidding against Qatar.

    Not only are they now looking to move the WC to winter to help with the playing conditions but read on.....other countries are trying to have games played there to be involved in the WC.

    Sorry but Qatar bid on their own unlike Spain/Portugal and Holland/Belgium for the 2018 and FIFA have always insisted that a bid jointly hosted should be bid for as such.

    Personally I believe that FIFA knew his all along but didn't care what others thought of it because they can do what they want when they want.

    It wasn't a joint bid so if they wanted to play games anywhere but Qatar then the bid should have stated so.

    In respect of the idea of moving the games then all I will say is that again this should have been in the bid from the outset.

    To those of you who think like I do, that Blatter rules FIFA and want shut of him all I can say is this; His successor will in all probability be Platini and he will be just as bad.

  • Comment number 81.

    Blatter and his executive committee members are becoming oligarchs whose powers should be clipped before they soar too far.
    The only way to effectively do this is to probe the various allegations of corruption, bribery and financial impropriety hanging on the neck of various members of the committee. Example should be taken from the IOC in which he (Blatter) is a member, an organization that knows too well the far reaching damages corruption could cause the football regulator.
    England could have lost the 2018 world cup hosting rights to Russia, courtesy of 'caustic' English press but serious corruption allegations therein laid on FIFA executive committee members should not be wished away. The stakes in football is too high, and cleaning up this mess is the only way credibility could be restored to the global game.
    Blatter should resign if he fails to do this, and if he fails to do so and cannot be removed regional associations should break away and form a another more open governing body. Perhaps this would be remembered as Joseph, S Blatter's enduring legacy!

  • Comment number 82.

    Why do we not ever hear a complaint from the Russian Premier that runs through the summer ? Top teams or not, the managers will want to win the league, and every two years (if Russia go to the WC & Eurean Championships), there is havoc in the league. They should be looked after well as they are in the top 6 best leagues in Europe.
    But if it happens to a 'super' club, they will immidiately voice their discontent. How about being fair for a moment ?

  • Comment number 83.

    I don't see how having a winter World Cup can work. I can see it disrupting all national football programmes from non-league to the Premiership and European club competitions. Aren't the winter programmes already packed as they are now with the FA and League cups in the domestic calender. If FIFA enforce what could be a month-and-a-half or more break to the domestic season, won't that just ruin the atmosphere of this season. And while the comparatively few number of international superstars are having a good time in Quatar, what are the considerably greater in number other footballers who play from the Premiership to the non-league sides supposed to do? What would the financial effect be on football in the UK be as a whole? If the domestic season is forced to move or extend well into the summer, forgetting the effect of players having to run around in the summer heat, how are clubs going to maintain their gates when it is the holiday season when people go away? Also, how will it effect the following domestic football season? Players don't get much of a break today with the season ending in May and then beginning again in August. Then it will also have an effect on things like transfer windows and betting. Also, how would the other summer sports react to such a move of the domestic football season? Don't FIFA understand that it is Football in the winter and then Cricket in the summer, not to mention Tennis (Wimbledon), Golf and athletics...? I really think this idea of FIFA's is stupid. If they run the World Cup over Christmas it would cancel the traditional football programme in the UK. Football on Boxing Day is an integral part of British national culture like beer and fish n'chips.

    The World Cup should stay in the Summer. Quatar are rich! They can build lots of air-conditioned indoor stadia. It wouldn't be the first time that world cup football was played indoors. Matches in the USA world cup were played indoors. If they don't want to do this, then they should give up holding the World Cup and some other country which has the weather and all the facilities should take it over.

  • Comment number 84.

    When England won in England in 1966 homosexuality was illegal there. Homosexuality is still illegal in many parts of the world. If it is so morally wrong to ban homosexuality, then why should any of these nations be allowed to participate in the World Cup at all, let alone host it? Should FIFA submit a belated apology for allowing England to host the world cup in 1966 because as we know, what is defined by the western world as "right" and "wrong" should not depend on temporality? Here's to hoping you realise that the idea of the World Cup is about respecting the rest of the world as it is for a change, and not enforcing your social views on others who are not ready for it at this time.

  • Comment number 85.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 86.

    Sepp Blatter is out of touch with reality and it's time for him to go.Nobody knows how much he takes home as pay,but it's very clear that for millions to be travelling to Quatar during winter is not only a havoc but will put lives at risk.If he doubts my claim,he needs to come to England these last few days.

  • Comment number 87.

    In regards to Blatter and his abstaining gay comment, isn't it time he came out of the closet and I loved Ian Holloway's comment about Blatter trying to change Christmas. After all it is a Christian festival and we know he doesn't like them either. [lol]

  • Comment number 88.

    Most complaints above seem to be focussing on the fact that FIFA has no problem in ignoring tradition. Is this the same FIFA that won't change its "traditional" world cup bidding process, or its "traditional" stance on goal-line technology?

    I think that the argument should be made to Blatter, et al - why is it ok to change some traditions, but not others which will have a far greater impact on the game (especially the technology issue)?

  • Comment number 89.

    The BBC censored my last post. Not sure why. I'll try to put it more diplomatically:

    Now do FIFA members understand why they should have read those technical reports? You know, the ones that cost the bid teams millions and that rated the Qatar bid 'highly risky'?

    The bottom line is that Qatar bid to deliver a summer WC, and to provide cooled stadiums and open areas. FIFA accepted this.

    So now they must deliver, not try to move the goalposts to reduce the huge cost they've committed to.

    The European FAs should hold firm. If FIFA wants to push this through, simply boycott the event and hold your own. A WC without England, Germany, Spain, Italy, etc. will be worthless.

  • Comment number 90.

    This proves that FIFA have no idea. It seems we are now proposing a month out of the European schedules so that we play in the summer ehat over here instead of in Qatar. This looks to be the world cup to not enter.

  • Comment number 91.

    Here's to hoping you realise that the idea of the World Cup is about respecting the rest of the world as it is for a change, and not enforcing your social views on others who are not ready for it at this time.

    Ok Comment 84. So lets go back to the times of racial discrimination, why give the vote to women?, why not flog a few slaves? It is this kind of homophobic attitude that still is so common among the "lads" of football. Grow up! yes I am gay and love football as so do many of my gay friends. Don't insult us!

  • Comment number 92.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 93.

    Another nail in the coffin of the beautiful game.
    As usual with FIFA, logic goes out the window in favour of wheelbarrows full of cash.
    Qatar promised cooled stadia, if they can't deliver then they shouldn't have been awarded the tournament (maybe they've no money left to pay for the cooling systems after they spent it on feathering Blatter's nest).
    I've accepted that the 2018 and 2022 world cups will be a shambles with rampant crime, violence and racism in Russia and zero atmosphere in Qatar, but to then go and try and ruin European club football too is unacceptable.
    Bringing the World Cup to Qatar only serves to encourage the middle-eastern oil dynasties to continue squandering vast sums of cash on white elephants instead of spending their oil money on improving the lives of ordinary people, in 100 years they'll have nothing to show for their wealth except crumbling relics.

  • Comment number 94.

    Why not play the world cup matches at the same time as the domestic football calendar? FIFA can have their meaningless tournament and the rest of us can get on with watching some decent football.

  • Comment number 95.

    Lets get some basic facts correct.

    Qatar is NOT an Emirate

    Qatar is actually rich on gas not oil.

    There is booze in Qatar.

    And as for crying over a winter world cup should we not consider that for the southern hemisphere every world cup is in the winter so what harm would it do the rest of us to have one winter world cup.

    Most people on here seem to think that the PL and CL are more important than the WC, the players certainly seem to think so based on their performances.

    If we are so full of our own self importance then don't enter, it is a WORLD Cup after all, open up your minds.

  • Comment number 96.

    Normanbitesyerlegs. No football in the winter? The winter months are cold and dark enough as it is without a distraction like football to fill it. The summers are short enough without them being filled with more sport

  • Comment number 97.

    The whole idea of a winter World Cup is just plain ridiculous as it would disrupt the domestic seasons pretty much everywhere. Sorry but Qatar applied to host a summer World Cup, if they are unable to host one then the only logical solution is to move it elsewhere. I'm pretty sure for example Japan or Australia could host the tournament during the summer. Qatar is a shocking choice in many other ways too, the way they persecute homosexuals, treat women as second class citizens, ban alcohol, among many others.

  • Comment number 98.

    I agree it would be ridiculous to host a World Cup in 50 degree heat, and that FIFA's selection process leaves a bitter afertaste but I'm going to have to take issue with a lot of posts here.
    This is the WORLD Cup (emphasis on World) not the European Cup. A move to Winter is not a move to Winter for everyone, but the European pre-dilection to think they are automatically more important than anyone else is insufferable. I know most players that will be in the WC play in Europe, but that is not the point.
    Also I think a lot of people here are being unfair to Qatar. Democratisation is a process, and one they have taken steps towards (although still have a long way to go). If Qatar was as backwards as it has been depicited on this board, it would not have produced, sustained and funded something like Al Jazeera.

  • Comment number 99.

    There are two concerns that are getting you excited here, Mr Bond.

    1 - Qatar is too hot for a World Cup in June/July and the money-rich European leagues will put a stop to any move to winter time!

    What is the problem? Much of Europe, and England especially, suffer through December and January with the weather conditions making football too cold for playing football.

    The sensible countries already take a break, of varying length, and start again when Spring is on the horizon ..... those too pig-headed to accept change have the pantomime of players wrapped in snoods, wearing gloves and tights. Then we have all the whingeing of fixture congestion in April and May!

    Close the season down just prior to Christmas (Wed 22nd), set the WC to start after a 3 week lead-up incl Christmas/New Year (Fri 14th Jan - Sun 13th Feb) and allow another 2 weeks before the league season starts again.

    Season end, Cup Final and European Cups all climax about 9 weeks later than normal at the end of July.... 2-3 week break and start the 2012/13 season, back in the archaic setting that is, seemingly, preferred.

    Just think, a whole season without meaningless international friendlies and pointless pre-season overseas tours...... surely all worthwhile to expand the game, and it's surrounding culture of inclusivity, in a new region of the world.
    ..... which brings me to the second concern.

    2 - Qatar has a law which bans homosexuality!

    This is a subject which should have been treated with more respect by Mr Blatter when asked about it, although, as English is a very poor second language for him, I think the instant-reaction reply to a difficult question may have been over-blown by the properly "Engerlish" speaking media.

    A more thoughtful reply might have highlighted that Qatar does not stand alone with it's laws regarding sexual openness; from my quick research there are approximately EIGHTY countries which have a non-acceptance of homosexuality in law.

    Sexual freedom is one worth fighting for but let's not bash Blatter and FIFA over it just because England didn't get the tournament in 2018. It is a worthwhile band-wagon, but be sure you jump on it for correct reasons, not just to grab a cheap headline and then abandon it again.

    In terms of sport being affected if an anti-apartheid-type ban in support of sexual freedom would be very wide indeed:

    No cricket tours involving the West Indies (Antigua, Barbados, St Vincent, Trinidad, Granada, Jamaica, St Kitts, St Lucia)

    Change location of the cricket World Cup in 2011 (Sri Lanka and Bangladesh)

    No, or little acceptance of, football relations with Africa (over 30 countries- Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Namibia, Gambia, Guinea, Lesotho, Liberia, Mauritania, Senegal, Togo, Sao Tome & Principe, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Somalia, Uganda, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zimbabwe, Zambia)

    Athletics would face the same restrictive relations, so what of the Olympics without these African countries

    Formula One would lose several races (Bahrain, Malaysia, Singapore, Abu Dhabi in UAE)

    Rugby would have to break contacts as well (Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga)
    ...... the list could go on.

    Outside of direct sporting contact, of course, several economic ties would have to go as well, such as lucrative sponsorship deals including Arsenal (shirts and stadium), AC Milan, Olympiacos, Hamburg, Paris Saint-Germain (all Shirts) plus a multitude of others, who would all, no longer be able to "Fly Emirates" the national airline of the UAE.

    As with many things - Be careful what you wish for!

  • Comment number 100.

    I don't see what all the fuss is about and to be claear, I for one do not condone the lack of transparency and integrity in the FIFA processes. Firstly everyone moans about the voting process, just because England did not win the 2018 vote - they were never going to anyway. Now (nearly) everyone is criticising a possible move to play the 2022 finals in the (European) winter season. Why not in the winter - its not a god-given right to play the tournament at a time that suits England. When it is played in the summer, the English manager and half the fans complain that the players being "tired" and "burnt-out" after a long domestic / European competition season, so FIFA can't win whichever way. Mid-winter most players will be at their peak, so thats not a bad thing. Also avoids the snow/icw of European winter and gives everone a chance to watch a top tournament at the "deadest" time of the year. Forget tradition, and change with the times!


Page 1 of 3

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.