Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Another Fine Mess is pencilled in

So it's all but rubber-stamped now.

The 2022 World Cup Finals will take place in November & December.

FIFA's taskforce for cleaning up the Qatar-clysm has confirmed what had been widely suspected.

Another Fine Mess is pencilled in.


The recommendation released today does not give specific dates - that part of the process will be finalised at next month's FIFA Executive Committee meeting. Yet the time-frame of November 26th to December 23rd has already been floated.

The Superbowl and Winter Olympics will not budge from January, which means a World Cup in the run-up to Christmas, which is hardly ideal for Europe and the Americas.

The thought of their TV networks accommodating three football matches a day instead of their usual holiday fare is bizarre, though not unimaginable. European clubs had proposed an April-May compromise, but Ramadan happens to fall in April 2022, so that was a non-starter. In May the temperatures are also between 25C and 38C.

The poor Africa Cup of Nations, also scheduled for January 2023, is the main victim as it is inconceivable big European clubs will release their stars for two big tournaments that winter.

A winter tournament also entails at least a two-month break in the heart of the European club seasons and an extended finish to UEFA competitions in the summer of 2023. There are strong rumours of a shortened finals format, which could prove stressful for the players, but might initially soothe their clubs' worries.

US Soccer and the Football Federation of Australia, the wronged parties in the initial vote, do not have the clout within FIFA to fight back and UEFA and the other five regions have got into line behind the rescheduling.

The Association of European Professional Leagues expressed dismay at today's news and Football Association chairman Greg Dyke called November & December "the best of the bad options" but European clubs, who have most to lose, seem unlikely to mount a rebellion, although will try to extract some money from FIFA for their manufactured mess.

"We expect the clubs to be compensated for the damage," confirmed European Club Association President Karl-Heinz Rumenigge.

It has all been one big cock-up, from the votes bought by Mohammed bin Hammam, the subsequent cull of disgraced Ex.Co. members, the shocking revelations of modern-day slavery surrounding the stadia building and the appalling whitewash of Michael Garcia's investigation.

Not many in the football world are licking their lips over the 2022 World Cup, but it will surely happen in winter now.

"The matter is resolved," concluded Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, head of the taskforce, solemnly.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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