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Blatter expects winter World Cup in 2022

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David Bond | 13:07 UK time, Friday, 7 January 2011

The Fifa president Sepp Blatter was in relaxed mood as he gave a briefing to journalists in his hotel suite.

In Qatar for the start of the Asian Cup - a dress rehearsal for the bigger event in 11 years time - Blatter was in fact so relaxed that he gave the most definitive statement yet on the timing of the World Cup in 2022, saying he expected it to be in winter and not summer.

Ever since Qatar shocked the football world by winning the vote last month, there has been a drip, drip, drip of speculation that the tournament would be moved from its traditional summer slot.

It might be a long way off but those two former footballing greats Michel Platini and Franz Beckenbauer were the first members of Fifa's executive committee to raise the possibility, suggesting the punishing 50 degree heat in the summer might make it dangerous for the players.

Qatar were huge outsiders to win the 2022 World Cup bid

Blatter backed that up a couple of weeks after the Zurich vote when he suggested it might be preferable to move the timing of the World Cup, a view shared by his general secretary Jerome Valcke.

But in saying he "expects" it to be changed is the clearest indication yet that the process of moving the 2022 World Cup is well and truly under way.

Just to be clear, here's exactly what Blatter told reporters:

"Personally, now that the decision has been taken, we must play at the most adequate period to have a successful World Cup and to have a successful World Cup we have to do it when it is best for the actors which means winter."

Asked whether he expected the World Cup to be played in winter, he replied, "Yes", before adding later:

"I expect it (to be in winter) because when you play football you have to protect the actors."

Now, many people around the world, particularly in those countries most aggrieved at losing the contest for 2022 (Australia and America) will look at Blatter's remarks and ask, quite justifiably, how can this be fair?

Every nation bidding for 2018 and 2022 put in campaigns based on summer World Cups. Qatar itself went to great lengths to convince executive committee members that its plan for air conditioned stadiums would eliminate the problem of the heat in June and July.

To just change the rules after the vote will only lead to renewed criticism of Fifa and its process for choosing World Cup hosts. No question, it will leave a nasty taste in those countries which missed out.

But there is nothing in Fifa's rules to prevent a host changing the time of year when a World Cup is played. It is only tradition which has dictated this.

And the Fifa executive commitee actually has the power to change any aspect of the World Cup after the decision is made.

Fifa will also make the point that if it wants to take the game to new territories and to develop football as a truly global sport then other parts of the world may have to make compromises.

However, while Blatter may expect it to be in winter, it's not quite as simple as him issuing a Presidential dictat. Qatar must make an official request to Fifa's executive commitee which must then vote on making the switch.

Qatar has not yet formed an organising committee. So far the country has said nothing about the prospect of a winter World Cup. The successful bid team have a meeting with Fifa officials at the end of the month which could lead to a request being made but it is very early days.

FIfa then has an execuitive committee meeting in Zurich in March where it is likely to be discussed although both Blatter and the Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke made it clear there were curently no plans to formally address it.

But there can be no doubt that Blatter's comments show that it is now only a matter of time before the change is made.

As a couple of brief postscripts Blatter was also interesting on the reasons for England's humiliation in last month's 2018 vote in Zurich. He suggested there could be resentment inside Fifa at the "privileges" British football enjoys.

That's a clear reference to the automatic right the four home nations have on the Fifa executive committee to a vice presidency, a right which British football has enjoyed since 1946.

It's also a reference to the 50% share of the voting rights the four home nations enjoy on the International Football Association Board, the game's law making body.

Blatter said these privileges needed to be handled intelligently, the implication being England 2018 perhaps hadn't always done that. They were polite, they did a good presentation and so on, he said. But there was clearly "reticence" and "resentment", he added, inside Fifa at Britain's privileges.

Even more interesting was Blatter's upbeat mood after the shock removal on Thursday of one of his long term rivals for the presidency of Fifa, the Korean Chung Mong Joon.

Dr Chung was voted off the Fifa executive committee and lost his vice presidency after 16 years as the Asian Football Confederation congress voted to elect Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, the son of the late King of Jordan.

At the age of 35, Prince Ali becomes the youngest member of the Fifa executive committee but at the same time will ensure there is little chance of change at the very top of the organisation.

Removing Dr Chung takes out one of Blatter's long term opponents and makes it virtually impossible for him to stand against him in May's presidential elections, where the Swiss is bidding for a fourth term.

Significantly the man who helped co-ordinate Prince Ali's successful campaign, Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, head of the Kuwait Football Federation and the Olympic Council of Asia, said that the 25 Asian nations which backed him in his election against Chung (who polled just 20 votes) will also back Blatter.

That means that another of his presidential rivals, the Qatari vice president Mohamed bin Hammam, will not be able to count on the full support of Asian football if he were to launch a bid.

Blatter would not get drawn directly on questions about his position being strengthened but asked us to draw our own conclusions.

And the only conclusion one can draw is that Blatter is almost certain to be re-elected for another four years in May.


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  • Comment number 1.

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

  • Comment number 2.


    Another FIFA story highlighted in today's BBC Football Gossip from the Daily Telegraph concerns the withdrawal of a job offer to Interpol's Head of Anti Corruption to head their own "Integrity" unit.

    Quite frankly I think that until the abscess sore aka Blatter is lanced FIFA's reputation will always be synonomous with the the gutter.

  • Comment number 3.

    So basically what Blatter has said is there's no point in having any sort of bidding process for the World Cup as they will do what they like!!

    Surely it's about time FIFA get rid of Blatter. Clean up its act and sort out things properly!!

  • Comment number 4.

    This clearly was already fait accompli before the vote even took place. The dust had barely settled before they started talking about moving it to the winter. Straight out of the How to Go to War in Vietnam and Iraq Manual. If Qatar had proposed a winter World Cup in their bid, the voting process would have been a completely different dynamic.

    Re: the Home Nations each have an FA and voice within FIFA. Sepp Blatter is forever warning governments not to interfere in the affairs of their Football Associations. The political world and sports world are not one and the same. Though often the case, it's not inscribed in stone that international sports borders must correlate with political ones. For example, the Irish rugby team comprises of players from both the North and South. Scotland have their own cricket team. The British FAs were the founding fathers of international football and I think I'm right in saying have operated as separate organisations ever since.

  • Comment number 5.

    Blatter gets more arrogant and autocratic as time goes on. He seems to think he is God.
    The decision to award the World Cup to a postage stamp size country like Qatar was both irregular and illogical - remember that Belgium and Holland put together a joint bid because each was deemed to be too small by FIFA to be able to hold the event on their own.
    Here's hoping that the major football associations and clubs tell Blatter where he can stick his 2022 World Cup by refusing to release their players on the grounds that it severely disrupts their domestic seasons.

  • Comment number 6.

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  • Comment number 7.

    So, not only do we see the World Cup being moved to the winter months (and the arguement it is for the players is tosh in my opinion - the world cup is for the planet not just twenty two men on a field)but also now we hear that other countries around Qatar are offering to host matches! I do not recall it having being a combined Gulf States bid, and will these countries now expect a place at the finals too?

    This has to be the worst thought out finals of the lot! Money rules as far is FIFA, and especially Blatter and co, are concerned. Yet another example of football being moved away from the beautiful game it once stood for.

  • Comment number 8.

    I can't see the big European leagues agreeing to the disruption of two seasons without a massive fight. With a bit of luck the fallout might mean the demise of FIFA and the birth of a truly democratic body. FIFA has become a bloated money-obsessed body that has produced increasingly dreadful World Cups. It's time is up.

  • Comment number 9.

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

  • Comment number 10.

    This is a difficult issue in my opinion. There is an element of truth in both what Mr. Bond and Mr. Blatter have said:
    1) Personally, I favored Australia or the US to win it as Qatar is just such a controversial choice. I totally agree with Mr. Bond that the bidding process is on the basis of a summer World Cup, and hence awarding it to Qatar (which should have known it's a summer event and accepted it) is ridiculous in this case. The solution should be for Qatar to use their limitless petrodollars to cool the stadiums (something which they said they'd do during the bid). And if it turns out that this was all nonsense just to win the bid, then they should be stripped of this privilege.
    2) At the same time, Mr. Blatter is right about the English being arrogant about this. I do recall how the Media (by English I don't mean all English people, I specifically mean the Media) sneered at South Africa and kept speaking of crime, AIDS, etc... Shops in England even went as far as selling bulletproof and stabproof vests. South Africa's World Cup was a success (perhaps not as exciting from a footballing perspective but hardly SA's fault).
    In sum, other non-Western European countries should be given the chance to host the event, but only if they accept the rules and traditions of the World Cup. It's a summer event where people of all races, sexual orientations, and religions enjoy a month of football. Qatar should bear that in mind.

  • Comment number 11.

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  • Comment number 12.

    Blatter & co are delusional. There is no way the European clubs are going to move without massive compensation from FIFA. At the end of the day football clubs are there to make money & every club in Europe will want compensation due to lost revenue. TV broadcasters & advertisers won’t pay £100m for broadcast rights due to reduced viewer numbers that year as most Europeans will be on holiday over summer. Compensation to European clubs alone could run into hundreds of millions.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules. - ridiculous.

  • Comment number 14.

    The last few World Cups have been awful and utterly dull, yet they're prepared to disrupt two seasons of domestic and european football in order to fit it in a time of year that makes it very difficult or nigh on impossible for anyone wanting to go to get there. Who has a few thousand spare around christmas time and new year?

    FIFA are utter clowns.

  • Comment number 15.

    Although the winter arguement is perfectly valid when it comes to Qatar, Blatter has scored a remarkable own-goal here. Many of the top European countries with the big money leagues are already opposed to many of the dictats coming out of Fifa with regards to mid-season friendlies and alike. This idea might finally be the one to destroy the 'international' game as we currently know it?

    I'm really surprised the likes of Beckenbauer doesn't take on Blatter..he has very little to lose. Uwe Hoeness has already voiced his objections to how Fifa is run.

  • Comment number 16.

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  • Comment number 17.

    Wouldn't it be funny if all the euorpean teams decided, sorry we are not coming we have a league to play, and by the way have a very average Winter World Cup.

    It all smells a bit funny to me, the longer slip butter is in charge and michelle platapus of uefa are there its always going to be a joke.

  • Comment number 18.

    How is this going to work with any degree of cogency? In principle I am not against a World Cup where the conditions favour the players; but surely leagues that operate in the Northern Hemisphere winter are going to have to take two months off: one for the obligatory preparation and one for the tournament itself?

    It would surely make more sense to play in summer, but have all the games at night when it is cooler: even in the small hours of the Qatari night - 9pm & 12am kickoffs, perhaps (three hours ahead of UK, two ahead of Europe). That way pretty much everyone west of the Ganges could see the games at a good hour.

    Surely for one month, if they're so desperate to have the tournament, they can alter their infrastructure to benefit the players and the worldwide viewing audience. The World Cup isn't football qua football, so why leagues should go on hiatus to accommodate a mildly overrated tournament with a limited amount of players is absolutely asinine.

  • Comment number 19.

    The choice to move it is utterly ridiculous, what was the point in awarding it in the first place? Like someone posted above if they had proposed a Winter World Cup then it may of been a different proposition. But they knew Qatar was a hot country and would have 40 degree weather, now why didn't the consider this!?

    If this does go ahead I think UEFA should choose its decision carefully, and possibly consider boycotting that particularly World Cup, the World Cup is in June/July to prevent maximum disruption to the Football Leagues around the world, I think it's only the US and Australia that it currently disrupts. It gives time for national managers to pick their squad carefully and allows players to rest before a grueling two or three weeks.

  • Comment number 20.

    So we are going to have the world cup in December or January. So Blatter is expecting European fans, Russian fans, USA fans etc to travel in the middle of the winter. Thats very considerate of him. If the winter weather is anything like its been recently there will not be many people going.

    Yet why does it surprise amybody with this clown in power. Roll on having the competitionn in the Faroe Islands, Andorra, San Marino, Isle of Man etc.

  • Comment number 21.

    I honestly believe that if this goes ahead then the much talked about super league wil be created see for my full point of view

  • Comment number 22.

    I totally agree with Corinblue, despite the fact that many European leagues (except the Premier League) do have winter breaks, the idea they'd simply accept losing their players for a month is absurd. I really do believe this issue could be the one that makes or breaks Fifa. Finally the question will be posed of who has more power; clubs or countries?
    The G14/G18 is currently disbanded after an agreement with Fifa to pay compensation for players injured in internationals, but a decision like this (if it is taken without consultation with clubs) will be enough to bring it back bigger and with more force than ever.
    And good luck to Fifa if they really think they can take on the power of Europe's biggest clubs, who might secretly already be looking at this as the chance to break away and form a European Premier League.

  • Comment number 23.

    ElFonz would you mind telling us which country you are from? You are perhaps related to Blatter?

    Was the South Africa world cup really a success?

    In my opinion it was an utter disaster. The only highlights being Germany's clinical play against England and Argentina. Also Paul the Octopus - RIP - at least one English creature is a winner.

    The vuvuezuelas were a complete joke and should have been banned.

    Did England have the best bid on paper? Yes. Did they deserve to get only 2 votes(1 being their own man)?No

    The European countries should tell Blatter and his cronies what they really think about the Qatar world cup.

    Qatar is about as viable as a world cup host as Andorra or San Marino.

  • Comment number 24.

    12 years is a long way away.

    As the fable about the emperor's horse notes, a lot may happen in any given period.

    * Sepp Blatter is 74 and will not be around for ever.

    * The European nations might form a new association

    * Sponsors may tell FIFA that they won't wear a winter tournament

    * Evidence may be find to prove the corruption allegations, leading to a new FIFA management

    * Something not even on the horizon now may come up

    Time will tell.

    But if I was the English FA I'd tell Blatter where to stick his cup.

  • Comment number 25.

    Comment after comment after comment of English whining. Boo Hoo Blatter doesn't like us. Boo Hoo we didn't get the World Cup. We WANTED it.

    Banging your fists on the ground like children and throwing temper tantrums. No wonder FIFA didn't want anything to do with an English bid.

  • Comment number 26.

    7. At 3:04pm on 07 Jan 2011, oozatden

    If they allow other countries in that area to host games I doubt it will be at the expense of a further world cup place. I would imagine that it wil be like when the PFA floated the idea of a 39th game and the host nation will reap some benefits i.e. tourism money and sposor deals etc.

    Others complaining about the disruption to the leagues have a point but most leagues already have a winter break - in fact I think British leagues pretty much stand alone in western Europe by not having one! This will simply mean that this is extended in most countries to fit in the world cup and extend the leagues longer at the end.

    All this serves to come across as a done deal essentially and was probably already decided before the vote took place (after all the winners were decided before the vote).

  • Comment number 27.

    20. At 3:49pm on 07 Jan 2011, eatingnorthernlad

    Whilst you are right in saying that the fans from Europe may struggle to travel during that time I'm afraid to say that the fans don't actually provide the bulk of the funds from a world cup (to FIFA at any rate). This is mainly from sponsorship deals and partnerships etc. as well as the TV rights the same as in the premiership.

    Whilst Quatar and the surrounding area's/local businesses may be affected by the loss of fans I don't think in those particular countries they will be that bothered.

  • Comment number 28.

    I'm a mild mannered person and not much gets under my skin, but this guy really does make my blood boil.

  • Comment number 29.

    Obviously I meant Qatar!!!

  • Comment number 30.

    I can't believe there's been such a seeming acceptance to fifa and blatter's discussions about hosting the world cup in winter, particuarly from uefa as they would be the ones principally affected. Obviously i know platini's involved in fifa, but i'm just shocked that the various leagues, clubs and football associations haven't said anything about the massive disruption this would incur to their schedules. Yet the likes of Platini, Beckenbauer etc just seem to be totally in favour of it as if it's such a simple request.

    And it's not just a question of that disruption either, would the Spanish clubs for example want their superstars playing in the Spanish summers? - that would have to happen to fit in their league season.

    And it's not arrogance, the european leagues are the richest ones, they're the ones where the majority of the players that play in the world cups come from. even at the last world cup, the majority of players in the various African squads played at some level around Europe.

    Also as someone else said, there seems to be this story going around that other Gulf states might be able to host matches? Would they expect the same guaranteed qualification as Qatar?? - then again I suppose they could have it if the European countries just withdrew.

    I also can't believe that we've not heard more from the American, Australian, Korean and Japanese associations that lost out to the Qatar bid, which seems to be given large amounts of latitude that they were presumably not given.

  • Comment number 31.

    Sepp Blatter is 74 years old man, I don't think that that he'll be still around in 11 years time...

    Surely it's time to get someone younger in?

  • Comment number 32.

    Re 23 Beshocked:
    1) I don't see how my origins have anything to do with this issue but if you insist I'm Canadian but have Spanish roots (Catalunya) and living in the UK. I wanted either Spain or England to win it as it would make it easier for me to watch some games, but I'm not related to Mr. Blatter (who I think is Swiss).
    2) Vuvuzelas- agree they were bad and loud (as do my South African friends) but every culture has pros and cons-are you in favour of English binge-drinking? Cause a lot of people don't respect that about English culture. Every country has pros and cons. I think I mentioned the quality of football in SA 2010 wasn't great, but in terms of organization, SA was a success- the Media created a picture of crime-infested stadiums and I'm sorry this just wasn't the case.
    3) I think I also mentioned I was in favour of the US and Australia for 2022. As far as England's bid is concerned I didn't read it so I can't comment. But the idea that white European countries should always take precedence and host the big events is simply ludicrous, especially when 85-90% of the world isn't European. Why is that so hard for you to understand? England would've been a great host I agree (see my first point) and I don't blame the English for being angry with Blatter (there is corruption in Fifa). But to say that non-European or non-Western countries should always be second is also unfair in this day and age.
    4) As for your last comment on Qatar totally agree- expect I'd prefer Andorra as it's a really beautiful country.

  • Comment number 33.

    With the report of other Middle East countries possibly hosting games, I think the bigger picture is beginning to emerge here.

    Awarding it to a country with exceedingly high temperatues in the summer and is in a WC tournament sense is the size of a postage stamp. As already mentioned if FIFA thought Holland and Belgium on their own were too small where does that place Qatar.

    Then we get comments about moving it to winter and possibly opening to neighbouring countries. If FIFA wants to tackle corruption then it has to open it's doors to the scrutiny of this accepted bid.

  • Comment number 34.

    This is turning into utter farce. They're making it up as they go along. Two of the fundamental aspects of the bid were that the tournament was to be held in summer, and that it was to be held in Qatar. It's a complete and utter joke. Why hold a bid process if as soon as the winner is announced they can go and change everything?

  • Comment number 35.

    Sepp Blatter and FIFA are a joke. Not one person on here supports the man, in fact I have never met anyone who thinks he is good for football. I will not be attending any world cups, I will save my money for Champions League, it's much better anyway.

  • Comment number 36.

    You have got to hand it too Blatter! He doesn't give a flying one about how much we dislike him, In fact, he is thriving on it!

    my personal dislike of him has started to morph into some kind of weird respect, this man has serious balls!

  • Comment number 37.

    Now it all makes sense - the idea of football in the desert heat in a country the size of Yorkshire seemed ridiculous. It has now become patently obvious that the award of the competition was made with Blatters knowledge that this would NOT be a summer competition and NOT take place in Qatar, instead would be shared between various Middle East nations. In other words, he was economical with the truth. How this organisation can continue to run world football is beyond me and the various European FAs and major clubs should have a showdown with FIFA now...
    (Surely there are grounds for legal action against FIFA from US / Australia etc if both the timing and nation of this competition are changed.)

  • Comment number 38.

    TheTomTyke (34) totally agree. As well although the details are being made up as they go along there is nothing trivial about Qatar anf FIFA's long term plans. This is all about disenfranchising the real (working class?) fans around Europe who are against super leagues and promoting a game for the international well-off (F1, Dubai tennis, SA world cup finals, all that rootless soulless sport). If you do some googling you`ll find the Qatar situation gets even more disturbing (try "Qatar Pep Guardiola"). They were supported by and are in close contact with the Spanish League and Spanish federation. They sponsor Barcelona, They just bought Malaga FC. Watch out for them "sponsoring" some kind of super league and the Qatar petrodollars going into the three Spanish franchises RM, B and Malaga.

  • Comment number 39.

    "Surely there are grounds for legal action against FIFA from US / Australia etc if both the timing and nation of this competition are changed."

    But FIFA are in practice clearly above or beyond the law. How could anyone prosecute them - for what, and in what jurisdiction?

    FIFA seems to be effectively a state in its own right, with its own laws and accountable only to itself. Rules of fair dealing and accountability are distant dreams...

  • Comment number 40.

    I'm in support of Holloway's comments about Blatter and Platini and quite frankly I do believe "the world has gone mad". They need to think through the host a bit more thoroughly next time ;)

  • Comment number 41.

    A lot of people have already picked up on this, but those saying we shouldn't complain it will be in January because a) we have called for a winter break so this gives us an opportunity to have it and b) other nations have to alter their seasons for a June/July World Cup so why shouldn't we, are missing the point.

    a) It's hardly a winter break if 90% of the players are playing during that so called break.

    b) As many people have said - I don't think in essence people mind it being in January (it is of course better than playing in unbearable heats), but the bid was for a June/July World Cup and millions were spent by all candidates in putting this together - seemingly completely under false pretenses as they were clearly never going to win. Surely changing the dynamics so massively must surely affect all of the criteria they assess when grading the bids - safety, financial benefit etc etc - so it can be argued that the whole thing and every bid should be reassessed. But of course it won't, as we all know the decision for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup was made long before the 'voting' was done.

    Following another questionable appointment in the Asian section of FIFA, Blatter is quoted as saying:

    "All these successes have created a lot of envy and jealousy in our world because you cannot satisfy everybody. The success story of Fifa can continue because we are in a comfortable situation, despite the criticism given to Fifa. We have the power and the instruments to go against any attacks that are made."

    Well Mr Blatter, you have said it all right there. 24 avarice men have the power to do whatever they like, with no accountability, for a game played by millions. Oh and I'd love for someone in the press to ask him what he means by 'comfortable situation'!

  • Comment number 42.

    As far as Europe is concerned the World Cup is finished. All the money is in European leagues, as are most (if not all) of the best players. The EPL is the richest & most successful league in Europe (look at UEFA stats), it features very heavily in the Champions League latter stages & both EPL & UCL are far more entertaining than the World Cup. Why would England or the larger European associations want anything to do with FIFA moving forward? One final point, the EPL is the most successful (money & global audience) sporting league of any type in the world. Think about that FIFA next time you humiliate the English.

  • Comment number 43.

    There is also the knock on effect of putting the entire European season on hold for a month - what do the broadcasters think of that?

    Then there's recovery times between seasons. 1 season starts early, finishes late, the next season will be starting very quickly after the previous season ends.

    And this bid was won on the grounds of it being played in the summer. That they're trying to shoehorn it into winter shows that they have made a calamitous mistake in awarding it to Qatar

  • Comment number 44.

    What I'm surprised hasn't been mentioned is that Platini seems to have been pushing to go to these new frontiers in the WC, but this didn't extend to promoting Turkey to get Euro 2016. On the contrary, he seems to have bent over backwards to enable France to get it for the 3rd time, not forgetting they hosted the WC in 1998. It was pointed out also that Switzerland hosted Euro 2008 when Blatter was UEFA President.

    And being a cynic, is it a coincidence that Platini's pushed through the financial fair play reforms when his former disgraced club, Juventus, doesn't have the same financial clout as when he was playing for them?

  • Comment number 45.

    I'd love to know where all these "Air-conditioned" stadiums are...

  • Comment number 46.

    We will arrive at a point when it is FIFA vs the Premier League.
    No English club will release its players in the middle of a demanding schedule with the risk that they will come back injured or burnt out in 6-7 weeks time.
    Unless ofcourse we decide to take a winter break; then there will be no exciting holiday fixture pile-up and no moaning from team bosses.

  • Comment number 47.

    Fulham manager Mark Hughes said the Premier League would still be playing matches in July if a switch to winter in 2022 happened.

    Errr, Mark................. explain this one, if you are playing for your country and are any good, you would have been playing the World Cup quarters/semis and final in July last Summer. Whats the difference ?

    I suppose there is a differnce, the players wont like it being switched, you can get knocked out of the World Cup early and then still enjoy the beaches in July but if the league is going, you will definitely be playing in July. Oh, the poor diddums.

    Going back to the January timing, maybe this is Blatter's big mistake, or maybe this is the moment of truth for the Premiership ? One is going to have to give way

  • Comment number 48.

    Europe should boycott this tournament, and just hold an additional Euro Championships in the summer of 2022.

    Why should we change our traditions (FA Cup, Boxing Day fixtures) just because FIFA have made a shocking decision which they now realise is totally unworkable?

  • Comment number 49.

    A world cup in winter? This is the best thing that ever happened to England. Instead being represented by players being burnt-out after a (too) long Premiership season, you will be represented by fresh players and actually have a much better chance of winning it again. Rejoice!

  • Comment number 50.

    This also means that qualification will have to finish much earlier which will affect the previous (2020-21) season as more dates will have to be found. I can see clashes with clubs and UEFA over disruption to domestic and european games.

    The premier league would have to finish their matches after the world cup, which no doubt means playing on into the summer of 2022...which will affect the following (2022-23) season as well.

    Will this cause a break-away world governing body?
    Will clubs hold their players back, carry on playing domestic competition as normal and have their own tournament in the summer?

  • Comment number 51.

    Funny, but watching the World Cup bid process I did not recall the Qatar presentation saying it would be too hot in their summer so let's play the competition in Janaury. Were they and Sepp Blatter worried that if they said that the Qatar bid would fail?

    Surely the 2022 bid must be reviewed in the light of this? It cannot be morally correct that because a nation or group of people that happen to sit on an oil well dictate everything in this world...

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE can someone invent Nuclear Fusion so we are not at the behest of these oil rich countries.

  • Comment number 52.

    So much for purpose built air conditioned stadiums, that will be stripped down and sold/given to neighbouring countries as we’re so god damn rich and charitable.

    Anyway, whats the big deal? Let them do whatever they want to do.

    We might as well just rid domestic football all together and just have internationals. We’ll rename the sport and call it Blatter-Ball, where all rules are made up and changed as and when Blatter sees fit. If anyone complains then they are sore losers. Simple!

    Love you SEPP!

  • Comment number 53.

    25. At 3:59pm on 07 Jan 2011, VenomPD wrote:
    Comment after comment after comment of English whining. Boo Hoo Blatter doesn't like us. Boo Hoo we didn't get the World Cup. We WANTED it.

    Banging your fists on the ground like children and throwing temper tantrums. No wonder FIFA didn't want anything to do with an English bid.


    LOL What? Are you reading the actual posts or just assuming this is what people are doing? That's utter rubbish. Nearly all posts are fair and correct judgements. So please, take your racism elsewhere.

  • Comment number 54.

    I don't think Sky will be best pleased with a re-arranged PL. They have other sports under contract during the summer so which one is going to take precidence?

  • Comment number 55.

    Since this now looks like it will definitely happen why don't we take advantage and prepare for it by introducing the winter break that everybody seemed to be asking for a few months ago. Then it will already be in place by the time the world cup comes around.

  • Comment number 56.


    talk about missing the point. If the league doesn't finish until July, how long is it until it restarts? So not only does it affect the 21/22 season, it also has a knock on affect to the 22/23 season. Genius.

  • Comment number 57.

    The guys here raise good points. To be honest, if Qatar and Sepp have any decency, they should admit that the process if flawed and award the tournament to the US, which finished second.
    The Qatar thing is a fiasco no doubt I totally agree, but reading some of the comments here like number 51 PreetiBoy, makes me happy as well that England did not win it: " It cannot be morally correct that because a nation or group of people that happen to sit on an oil well dictate everything in this world". So is it morally correct that because a nation or group of people that happen to have light features and happen to be Western dictate everything in this world? Both statements are simply vacuous in this context: The objection was never about Qatar and oil: it was about the flawed process by which Qatar won the bid, a process that lacks transparency and is now clearly shown to be fraudulent from the start.
    One thing I admire about the English is their ability to reason and not get too emotional. Some ppl here are simply lacking in reason.
    At any rate, I doubt the EPL, La Liga, etc... will change their schedules to please a small country like Qatar- Qatar may be punching above its weight, but it also has a limit. So Mr. Blatter: dream on!

  • Comment number 58.

    John, Hughes's point is that the Premier League normally finishes in May, not July. In terms of the length of playing games, in principle, yes this might not make it any longer than if the world cup was in the summer as normal. However, in practice as several other people have pointed out, this affects seasons before 2022, to fit in qualifiers, and the season after due to a later start to provision a summer break for players.
    Forgetting whether it is fair on European leagues or on the other 2022 bidders, I actually think the player's will be the main victims of such a move.
    In practice, there would be such opposition from clubs and lack of room in the international calendar that qualifiers would most likely still be being played in the summer of 2011.
    Leagues may then attempt to compensate for the missed time in winter by starting earlier than normal (very beginning of August) as well as finishing later (at some point in July).
    Then the leagues, in order to get back to normal again, might have to start again at the normal time (mid August).
    Hence, you'd be asking some of the best players in the world to essentially play non-stop from the beginning of the 2020/2011 season to the end of the 2022/2023 season. That is three whole seasons of football without a proper break.
    Given the choice, I think most players would rather play in the heat...

  • Comment number 59.

    This just shows how wrong the decision was to hold this premier event in world football in Qatar. If FIFA have to start changing the time of year because of the intense heat then they must realise the error of their ways.

    Couple this with all the other valid reasons to hold a footballing tournament of this nature in a non-footballing country then you can begin to understand the stupidity of the decision.

  • Comment number 60.

    I notice some people are suggesting that Qatar kicks off games at 9pm and midnight to avoid the heat. Yes you avoid the direct sun, but the heat is still there at midnight.
    Living in Las Vegas, at midnight the temperature can still be 90-100F or 35c.

    Having lived in Jordan for a year, many people stayed in Jordan during July and August to avoid the heat in the home countries of Qatar, Saudi Arabia etc. Jordan isn't exactly mild, but the temperature tends to max out at 100F, whilst other places hit 120F.
    Las Vegas usually max's out at 110F and I can tell you from personal experience life outdoors is avoided during the heights of summer. 110F is very uncomfortable, so much so that everyone looks forward to a break in temperatures of 100F!

    I believe that if the WC goes ahead in 2022 in Qatar, it will be a very different WC and a very different FIFA-it won't just be the current faces that change.
    I am also amused how FIFA takes a strong line on political interference in national associations. But FIFA requires political help to host and finance hosting WC.

    p.s. Does anyone find Blatter's constantly referring to players as 'actors' a little condescending?

  • Comment number 61.


    Jeez, a right bright spark here eh!

    Do you think it is the premier league clubs only affected and unhappy/disjointed about the practicality of this situation?

    Yeah, lets change every countries domestic fixtures, for a tournament held once a year, in a country that is not fit to, and doesn't even have an interest in football.

    Sepp likes to refer to the, developing football around the world tripe, but all this is about money. Plain and simple!

    Would they do the winter olympics in qatar? Hey its ok, we will build snow machines and it will be fine. Of course not.

    This proposal is BS!

    It is not a case of England stamping their feet and chucking their toys out the pram, it is a case of the majority of the footballing world questioning why they have to change everything to accomodate a pathetic one of idea. Not only will it effect 2022, it will effect 2021 and 2023 and even 2024 in adjusting the fixtures back, fitness of players, training etc, think of the knock on effects you bell!

    But no, just an excuse for johnny foreigner to have pop at the english, whilst no doubt enjoying what our frustratingly overly generous country has to offer. How typical!

  • Comment number 62.

    * I meant - one every 4 years obviously!

  • Comment number 63.

    great planning by Sepp Blatter and his bunch of cronies. i suspect that they will be well rewarded for this decision to award it to a non footballing country with money to burn and causing disruption to the rest of the worlds football season. marks out of ten for this decision minus 5 . time for a mass boycott of that years competition i think

  • Comment number 64.

    When Qatar bid for the SUMMER world cup they should of known that it was too hot to play in their summer so therefore not putting a bid forward but Blatter saying that he wants to take the world cup all over the world is simply not practical. It might as well just be given to North Korea. Blatter is a disgrace to world football with all the recent corruption allegations, what did he do? Nothing.

  • Comment number 65.

    The air conditioned stadiums to later be dismantled for charitable causes in Africa was obviouslly the sales pitch, dare I say the FIFA sales pitch, a charade. Why don't we just say it? The wool was well and truly pulled over our eyes. FIFA pulled a fast one.

    So, FA, are you going to let them get away with it?

  • Comment number 66.

    Every bidding nation was bidding on a WC to be held in June/July.
    Based on that, evrybody knew that it was too hot in Qatar at that time of year.
    It was obvious to all that, for whatever reason, Blatter wanted it in Qatar; and we all know that what Blatter wants withing his little fiefdom (or should that be fifa-dom)Blatter gets.
    If FIFA now angle to move the WC to Jan/Feb, then obviously Bladder will get his way.
    The only way to stop this megalomaniac is the hard way - the majority of WC participants are in the middle of their leages at that stage, so maybe they should all simply withdraw from the WC for 2022 as soon as the change is announced.
    Let Qatar hold a glorified Asia cup with some goats and camels to make up the numbers, and FIFA can rave about what a great WC they put on. in the meantime the TV rights will bring in 10% of what they normally would - but hey, Qatar don't need the money:they have oil. they can afford to make up any losses that FIFA incur, so where is the problem?

  • Comment number 67.

    if we ever get the world cup in england again, we should change it winter as well, dig out the orange ball and turn on the under soil heating.

    that would sort the men from the qataris!!

  • Comment number 68.

    I know that this is a terrible idea in practice - there are so many objections its hard to know where to start listing them. Surely the matter of air conditioned stadiums and training facilities where covered satisfactorily in the bid, so holding it in the winter is completely unnecessary?

    But...I would like to see a winter World Cup in Qatar and other countries. It would mean players were released from Europe while they were in peak condition, and as a result we might see better football. South Africa was not a very exciting tournament, despite the good standard of football (especially defending) it lacked outstanding matches. Unfortunately even if clubs did release players for the month of the tournament, I can't see them releasing players for 3+ weeks of pre-tournament training or extra friendly internationals. Maybe if you stopped the season in mid-December and started again in February? I'd like to see that tournament.

  • Comment number 69.

    I was just set to condone Blatter again for this foolish decision, but everyone before me has done a fine job of it, so I need only agree.

  • Comment number 70.

    completely agree with no 48, hold another European Championships that year with normal qualifying. Offer an invite to Brazil & Argentina and bingo you got ur own world cup in the right months

  • Comment number 71.

    I don't believe the winter switch will happen as the great generators of football wealth, the big European clubs, will simply refuse to cooperate.

    Can anyone really see Barca, RM, Man U, AC, Inter, Bayern etc saying "Of course you can take the majority of our team for 7-12 weeks." "Of course you may have our best players play extra games in the middle of the season." "We don't mind if our star players, who are our greatest expense, have played extra games through the season and are more exhausted and injury prone at the end of the season during the league and cup run-ins!" "Of course we don't mind having an even larger and more costly squad to accommodate even more rotations due to an extra competition." "This winter switch is a jolly good idea which will level the playing field for smaller clubs whose players will be able to put their feet up for 12 weeks while those pesky superstars get to run around and keep playing."

    Not for nationalistic or jingoistic reasons, or because England are pissed off, but because in the end money talks and the rest walk!

  • Comment number 72.

    How does a decrepit 74 year old megalomaniac, get to dictate to world football. This old man has been living the high life on world football for too long.
    World football elections, for FIFA committee officials, should be one country one vote. Blatter would then be relegated to a Swiss care home where he belongs.
    Unfortunately I think he has carefully groomed and selected his successors. No doubt by doling out largesse, from the slush fund that is FIFA.
    If you detect a certain bias in this comment, your right. I have always believed the FIFA heirarchy to be anti-English football. By heirarchy I mean the top two SB & MP, the rest are just puppets.
    Roll on democratic voting for FIFA officials

  • Comment number 73.

    Does this mean that ALL leagues will have to have a break?

    For example, if Scotland do not qualify, would they be forced to take a break as well.

    It would unfair to force them to, but if it doesn't happen, then there is the possibility of an Old firm game competing with Germany vs Qatar

  • Comment number 74.

    This is the kind of stupid, lazy journalism that I've come to expect from the BBC. It's a good thing I don't pay for it. Let's do a bit of maths before opening our mouths please. FIFA is the union of the regional footballing authorities. So we have, AFC,CONCACAF,CONMEBOL, CAF, OCEANIA and UEFA, with a total of 208 individual FAs as members of FIFA (from FIFA website).
    With the exception of UEFA, none of the other confederations will have a problem with a World Cup in January. In fact, even within UEFA, some countries will be fine with it because their domestic season ends in Nov/Dec and doesn't start again till Feb/Mar (Russia, Ukraine,Georgia at least).
    And it looks like Platini is preparing UEFA for a January WC. So, do people really think that the English media or FA or Premier League managers are going to be able to stop the tournament from taking place in January 2022? Isn't that a waste of energy? As is focusing all this hatred/anger on Blatter. He might not be around by the time 2022 comes along ! It was not just him who gave Qatar the 2022 tournament. There was a voting process. Did no one else on the voting panel KNOW how hot Qatar is in June/July? Really?
    Instead, it might be a better idea to focus on how to prepare for such an event. Of course, that's assuming England will qualify. Or will the English have persuaded FIFA that they be granted direct entry to the 2022 Finals?
    There is no point in arguing about tradition. If you want football to spread to new countries, which is what FIFA wants, then tradition will have to be abandoned. It looks like only the English don't want to change and adapt. Is that really wise? Given that England has not won any major football tournament since 1966 and did so badly in S. Africa 2010, doesn't England need to change both on the field and off?

  • Comment number 75.


  • Comment number 76.

    My guess is that this article will hold the record for most moderated comment removals ever. The man is breathtaking in his arrogant attitudes. How can the soul of the worlds favourite game be entrusted to someone who would give dodgy time share salesmen a bad name. If this wasn't bad enough he is now filling FIFA up with cronies that he has cultivated over the years and in doing so perpetuating his toxic grip on world football. On the bright side at least we didn't win the world cup bid which would have meant him travelling to the Uk.

  • Comment number 77.

    32. At 4:20pm on 07 Jan 2011, ElFonz wrote: But the idea that white European countries should always take precedence and host the big events is simply ludicrous.....

    Are you having a laugh? Britain certainly isn't a white nation.. We're more multicutural than Qatar will ever be in a million years!

  • Comment number 78.

    The issue about the domestic season not finishing until July is only vaguely about the gap between seasons, because as some have rightly pointed out, those players going to the WC won't finish their season until then anyway.

    The real issue is that it leaves the clubs zero preparation time for a new season which begins less than six weeks later. How is a club winning promotion to the Premier League supposed to prepare for life in the top tier when they only have that amount of time (and given that the play-offs currently take place at the END of May we are really talking a mid-late July finish to the season). Likewise the teams relegated from the PL.

    And we cannot just assume that it is only going to affect the PL, as many championship clubs have international players on their rosters who will be called up for the WC.

    And as for the poster who said it was an opportunity to finally have the Winter break everyone clammers for ... I really hope you were joking. A two week Winter break is a significantly different beast to a two month break for international teams to prepare for an take part in a World Cup tournament.

  • Comment number 79.

    Re 77 Bullseye1969
    I wrote that to prove that those who argue that Qatar's oil should not entitle them to call the shots (which is true) also seem to forget the flip side of the equation (a lot of people seem to think that Westerners want to call the shots). Need I remind you of the reaction when SA was announced as the 2010 organizer?
    Plus you say Britain isn't a "white" nation. In retrospect, i should have said Western rather than white (that's a faux pas). However, Britain is still 89% white. As for Qatar and multiculturalism, I've been reading that so many expats have been heading to Qatar to settle and work. Qatar is becoming multicultural.
    At any rate, I agree with English fans about the ridiculous decision to give Qatar the right to host it- I just disagree with the reasons and arguments some of the people have used. I still think it's good to grant non-Western countries a shot, and I'm Western myself- so long as they accept the traditions honored by hosts since 1930.

  • Comment number 80.

    We are debating the ludicrous. There are so many things wrong about the whole situation it is difficult to know where to begin.

    Attributing intelligence, thought, planning and integrity to Sepp Blatter.... how daft can we be.

  • Comment number 81.

    Ps poster number 31 - I am convinced he is the undead.

  • Comment number 82.

    Rubbish. Another reason they should not have got it.

  • Comment number 83.

    48 and 70 do have a point. On the other hand would like to see more on the US, Mexiacan and Australian teams. Would have been better to let Australia host the world cup anyway as a emerging football country. Would make a lot of sense. Wasn't this the argument to gave it to the US a few decades ago? Live in the Netherlands, but personally I don't care were the WC takes place, as long as it takes place, UK would suit me just as well. Qatar however is a big joke. I'm afraid it has all to do with dollars and secret bankaccounts. I mean, everybody before me has already given all the arguments, point taken nr 69, so the only reasonable explanation left is that money must be involved. ST for your journalists to look into in the coming months? Please do and make me smile.

  • Comment number 84.

    This seems to me like a very good time to tell Blatter that enough is enough and that we would rather watch Arsenal play Man United or even Sunderland play Newcastle than watch North Korea play Chile or whoever.

    Blatter is totally out of control. He lives in an ivory tower and seems to be unaware that the last World Cup was the worst football competition ever. The quality of the football was dire and not too many people in Europe, who enjoy a very high standard will want to spend time or money watching that kind of rubbish when the European football leagues are so much better.

  • Comment number 85.

    However, Britain is still 89% white




    Just had to laugh out loud at that!

  • Comment number 86.

    Re 85 BuildABonfire
    Admittedly that's the 2001 census so it's outdated but can't find a more recent one, so don't get why you're laughing like a mule: it's a factual statement not intended to offend anyone.

  • Comment number 87.


    You're coming at the argument from the wrong angle. The issue isn't football federations, it's football clubs. Sure, most of the footballing federations outside of Europe may actually support a January World Cup, but where do most of the players of those federations play? Europe.

    I don't think that the major clubs in Europe, and by extension their respective footballing federations, will agree to a winter World Cup. They will not condone a release of a majority of their players for up to 6 weeks in the middle of the season. They already kick up a fuss over international friendlies! Quite rightly too, because do the English FA pay the wages of Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, et all? No.

    I think we may soon see a massive power struggle between Fifa and the major football clubs and I only see one winner if this happens. Hint: it isn't Fifa.

  • Comment number 88.

    Leaving aside the original decision to award 2022 to Qatar and whilst not being a Blatter fan for a moment, is this not being made into far more of a problem than it actually is by English club managers? So what if some countries have to re-arrange their season once, in more than a decades time - hardly a lack of notice is it? Start the 21-22 season a month early, stop at the end of November, re-start around 15/20 Feb and end the season a month late, and scrap for one season the secondary cup competition to ease fixture congestion if really necessary. There are many good reasons to criticise FIFA - but is this really one of them?

  • Comment number 89.

    Re 87 mgoulden,

    Yes, this will be a sticky point. I expect within 10 years International associations will be paying clubs some money to release players for the World Cup. Why should Real Madrid and Manchester United allow their players to go 'work' for another employer and not receive a penny?
    In principal I agree that countries shouldn't have to pay. But in 10 years we might see a player on $1 million a week. The clubs are already demanding compensation for players injured on International duty, I believe the top clubs in Europe will start pressing this to be the norm.

    Trouble is can the likes of Cameroon afford to select someone like Eto'o? If he was to get an injury that kept him out for 10 weeks, would the Federation be able to pay $1million compensation?

    Another aspect of a January WC, is that it affects Champions League and League TV contracts. Will clubs be able to add to their rosters and avoid cup-tied players? There are so many issues involved that FIFA may have to concede many rules and issues to get the European clubs on board.

  • Comment number 90.

    Echo the comments on the whole bidding and award for the World Cup. But what's done is done. The whole shebang seemed to be pre-planned, making the bids a waste of time and money for other nations bidding.

    More worrying (and I must admit to not knowing the in's and out's) is the removal of Blatter's threat to his and his buddies stranglehold on FIFA; Chung Mong Joon.

    Smacks of cartel/Mugabe like realpolitik and that's worrying.

    I just hope Football doesn't become like Boxing or many world champions?? But maybe it needs to.

  • Comment number 91.

    Re 85 BuildaBonfire - GB was 91pc white in 2001 census, so 89pc now is entirely possible. Next census in March this year. If you think its wrong you probably live in a big city and don't travel much to rural and small town England and much of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

  • Comment number 92.

    To me, this only makes the acceptance of the Qatar bid all the more dubious.
    Surely, when considering all the world cup bids, FIFA would've anticipated this massive hurdle and as a result, would've found it more rational not to accept a bid which proposed to use completely unproven green cooling technology. To play the world cup during the winter is folly and the clubs of the major leagues simply won't have it.

  • Comment number 93.

    Try my Football quiz and polls at

  • Comment number 94.

    Something that crossed my mind - even if we accept that voters were duped by this now clearly fraudulent plan for all air-conditioned stadiums to protect the "actors", what was being considered for the hundreds of thousands of non-acclimatised, beer-swilling fans? I don't think it's catastrophizing too much to predict a few heat related deaths under those circumstances.

  • Comment number 95.

    RE: 79. Elfonz

    "At any rate, I agree with English fans about the ridiculous decision to give Qatar the right to host it- I just disagree with the reasons and arguments some of the people have used."

    Whole-heartedly agree. Some posters are quite ignorant on the aspects that they are arguing.

    Qatar should never have got the World Cup and even more so in the light of FIFA's reasonings of giving it to Russia. While they defend the reasoning behind the Russia success they show that the same criteria is not used for all bids. Qatar's economy and footballing situation is so vast from Russia's its comical that FIFA continue to dish out excuses.

    Its clear that the World Cup is not based on a level criteria.

  • Comment number 96.

    I think the European leagues may just tell Blatter where to go and shove his proposals.

    The like of the Premiership, La Liga, Seria A and the Bundesliga could quite easily ruin a world cup by not realeasing their players.

  • Comment number 97.

    I know you lot don't get it but 95% of these posts (plus the idiotic statements made by the horrifically overpaid and over exposed ignoramuses that hold positions of responsibility in English football) highlight why the English FA bid was dismissed. I know you don't want to know it but football does exist outside of the EPL and English football (dominated by foreigners) is not as important as you think (yawn).

  • Comment number 98.

    Zerofeet - When the majority of the world international football players play in Europe you would be surprised at how much powere the EPL and the other European leagues have. SO YEAH IT IS A BIG DEAL.

  • Comment number 99.

    All we need to sort this mess out is a stand-up, play it straight, morally strong forward thinking organisation to sort FIFA out.

    English FA, UEFA?? Or maybe we could send John Terry, after all he sorted that Fabio bloke out!

  • Comment number 100.

    The world cup in Qatar is in 2022!! That is in 12 years time!!! Do you think that given TWELVE years worth of preperation the European leagues will be able to work out how to they will be able to cope with the world cup being held in January? The world cup disrupts the schedual anyway, having it in January should make no difference, and any difference it does make will be universal throughout UEFA...

    If we cannot compensate for the world cup being held in January, in 12 years time, and just as a one off!! What does that say...


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