Qatar 2022: Fifa faces fight over winter World Cup
Plans to switch the controversial tournament away from the summer may not get the go-ahead at Fifa meeting
PLANS to switch the controversial Qatar 2022 World Cup from summer to winter may have to be put on hold after senior Fifa members, including Uefa president Michel Platini, opposed plans to confirm the move this week.
Fifa's executive committee (Exco) is meeting in Zurich this week and had been expected to rubber stamp the idea of a winter tournament, on account of the searing summer temperatures in the Gulf state, which can reach 50 degrees celcius. But the BBC reports that three Exco members now say they oppose an immediate switch.
The move seemed to be inevitable after Uefa's member states agreed to the idea in principle and Europe's leading clubs said they were "open" to the idea of moving the tournament, even though it would disrupt their season.
"While a decision on Friday to move the tournament should not yet be ruled out, Platini wants Exco to give more attention to a planned discussion on the plight of Qatar's migrant workers following allegations over severe labour law abuses," explains the BBC.
There are also concerns about whether the tournament should be staged in early 2022, or at the end of the year. The Winter Olympics will be held the start of 2022, although the host city has yet to be chosen, while the NFL is said to be concerned about the possibility of a clash between the World Cup final and the Super Bowl, which takes place in February.
The organisers, for their part, are still prepared to host the tournament in the summer, and say air-conditioned stadia would counter the effects of the summer heat.
The Daily Mail notes that although Platini was the first to suggest a switch to a winter tournament he has now "outflanked" Fifa president Sepp Blatter by opposing a vote on the idea. It "looks like the first skirmish of their fight for the 2015 presidency," says the paper. ·