Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has stated that the 2022 FIFA World Cup should be moved from Qatar if a solution cannot be found for its staging in the traditional summer calendar slot.
Scudamore’s comments represent the latest broadside from the English top flight in its long-running fight against the prospect of changing the tournament to a winter event. Qatar 2022 officials have repeatedly insisted they are preparing to stage the tournament in the summer, with air-cooling technology set to be used in state-of-the-art stadia, but have also said they would accommodate a request from FIFA to move the dates. FIFA has said its executive committee will meet on October 3-4 to discuss the issue of potentially switching Qatar’s World Cup to a winter calendar slot.
Asked if a winter World Cup is likely to happen, Scudamore said: “I’m not going to say I think it will because I’m still working the best I can, garnering enough support, a groundswell of support, to make sure it doesn’t happen in winter. We do want to have it in summer – the summer is the right time. If Qatar is unable to hold a proper tournament in the summer for fans then it should be put on somewhere else is my simple view. My view is if you can’t actually meet the criteria of looking after the fans, if that is what Mr Blatter is now saying, then you should take it somewhere else where they can look after the fans. When the technical bid book went in, it had to go through everything, like fan experience. The idea the technical committee did not know people were going to be exposed to that heat is crazy. If Mr Blatter says it is not right for the fans he should move it.”
Scudamore believes a winter window for the tournament is totally unacceptable. “The world has a calendar that’s geared around finding those two months every four years in the summer to have the World Cup,” he added, according to The Guardian newspaper. “To alter it to a different time of year messes up everybody’s calendar, not just ours.” Regarding the potential for the Premier League to take legal action on the matter, Scudamore stated: “That’s something that is far too contentious really. It’s not a very edifying prospect is it? Taking on FIFA, the world governing body. At the end of the day we’ll do our lobbying, our work, but it’s far too premature to think of legal action.”