Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Here we go again

The 2022 World Cup date has now swung decisively towards November-December of 2021 or '22 after organising committee chairman Hassan Al-Thawadi admitted winter was the better option.

FIFA has poo-pooed the European Club Association's preference for April-May 2022 on the grounds of the still difficult heat and the holy month of Ramadan starting on the 2nd of April that year.

With the IOC adamant FIFA will not tread on its Winter Olympic toes in January-February '22, that leaves the November-December slot the only viable option.

Whether it is in 2021 or 2022, the staging will eat into European club and country schedules and a battle still looms.

The easiest option of course would be to strip Qatar of hosting rights on health and safety grounds. Summer temperatures in the USA are not ideal either if played like in 1994 at times to suit European television audiences, although evening kick-offs are possible.

Australia would be the ideal choice as June-July is their rather mild winter, but if winter it must be, runners-up the US & Australia surely have a case in taking FIFA to court for breach of contract. The bidding document explicitly stated the tournament must take place in June and July of 2022.

Neither federation has expressed any interest in rocking the boat. US Soccer's Sunil Gulati is now on the Executive Committee and Australia's Moya Dodd, vice-president of the Asian Football Confederation, a co-opted member.

What does seem certain however is that the much-vaunted boast of climate-cooled stadia employing dazzling new technology has bitten the dust.

-Sean O'Conor

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