Newly elected International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach has stated his belief that switching Qatar’s 2022 FIFA World Cup to a winter tournament will not affect the Winter Olympics staged in the same year.
Bach, speaking on Sunday at the Sochi 2014 Winter Games torch lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia, said he had held talks with FIFA president Sepp Blatter and was confident the two major events would not overlap. The Winter Olympics are normally held in the first three months of the year and a potential clash has been held up as a major issue by detractors of the move to shift the 2022 World Cup from its traditional June-July slot in the calendar.
“This is a FIFA discussion and the IOC will not interfere,” said Bach, according to Reuters. “I have spoken with president Blatter a couple of weeks ago when he made the proposal to have the World Cup in November 2022 and we will now follow these discussions in the executive commission of FIFA.”
Blatter has said his executive committee should decide “in principle” that Qatar’s World Cup cannot be played in the summer during a meeting scheduled for October 3-4. Bach, who succeeded Jacques Rogge at the helm of the IOC earlier this month, added: “I am very sure that there will be a solution in the mutual interest because neither FIFA nor the IOC want a clash of dates for such major world sports events. This is why I am not worried at all.”