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IOC concerned about winter World Cup timing

Updated: Friday, 20 Sep 2013 09:10 | Comments

FIFA are pushing for a winter World Cup in 2022
FIFA are pushing for a winter World Cup in 2022

Moves to switch the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to January/Februrary have hit their first major hurdle after the International Olympic Committee warned FIFA against any impact on the winter Olympics in that year.

European countries have given their overall backing to FIFA moving that year's tournament in Qatar to the winter - to avoid the extreme heat of the summer - with some expressing a preference to play in January and February instead.

Those dates would have a direct effect on the winter Olympics - and the IOC would stand in the way of any such move, with the organisation having the ultimate sanction of kicking football out of the Olympics.

The IOC said it was confident that FIFA would hold talks with them to avoid a clash, and a World Cup in November now looks more likely.

An IOC spokesman told Press Association Sport: "We were aware that FIFA might consider changing the dates for the 2022 World Cup. We are confident that FIFA will discuss the dates with us so as to co-ordinate them and avoid any effect on the Winter Games."

FIFA's executive committee is now expected to agree in principle to move the World Cup to the winter at its meeting in Zurich on 3/4 October, after the 54 European countries that make up UEFA agreed to a switch.

FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce, from Northern Ireland, said however the 54 UEFA associations meeting in Dubrovnik, Croatia, want FIFA to consult with the game's major stakeholders before making any decision about exactly when the tournament is staged.

Boyce said: "What has come out of this meeting, and what I think is sensible, is an agreement by the UEFA countries that the World Cup cannot be played in Qatar in the summer. Everyone was certainly in agreement about that.

"But what the 54 countries do not want FIFA to do is to make a decision yet on exactly when in the year it is going to be played.

"There is still nine years to go and people feel FIFA should sit down with all the major stakeholders and come up with a solution that would cause the minimum disruption to football.

"There is plenty of time to do that in my opinion, and hopefully football will be the winner."

Last week, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said Christmas matches would not be affected by any switch - and that there was no chance of moving the tournament from Qatar.

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