COMMENTARY | Little by little, the foundation of the 2022 Qatar World Cup is crumbling down. It was but a little over a week ago that FIFA president Sepp Blatter admitted what we all knew was true several years back, that a World Cup cannot take place in Qatar during the hot summer months. Now, multiple noteworthy individuals are coming forward to voice their displeasure about an event that is becoming more and more a debacle nine years before it is even set to begin.
Former German Football Association president and current FIFA executive committee member Theo Zwanziger hit out at Qatar being awarded the 2022 World Cup while speaking with Sportbild magazine. Zwanziger's quotes, which were picked up by the Associated Press on July 24, make his feelings on the subject very clear. "It was a blatant mistake," he stated. "Changing the World Cup to the winter is going deep into the structures of European national federations and also amateur football in Germany." Zwanziger also suggested that FIFA should void their decision of awarding Qatar with the World Cup and instead choose a different host nation. "If the decision at the time was really wrong you have to cancel it and avoid burdens on those previously uninvolved," he said.
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore wants zero part of a winter World Cup. The Telegraph quoted Scudamore as having stated the following on the matter: "We think that the World Cup should have been bid for on the basis that it was going to be where it was going to be, and the great and good of FIFA and the wise people that made those decisions should have made their decisions in the full knowledge of what the consequences were."
"The idea of everyone just having to be disrupted and the logistics of that... it's all very easy for people that are 'presidential' - in one sense they don't have to do the work. But there's an awful lot of chaos would be caused across world football if it got moved. We'll be doing all the lobbying we can to try and persuade people that's not the right way to go."
You can be sure that the main man in charge of the world's most-watched league is not the only executive in European football who isn't keen on a winter World Cup. Top-tier teams in England, Spain, Italy, and Germany are not going to be in love with the idea of players worth millions upon millions of dollars possibly being lost to injury for any amount of time in the middle of their seasons just because somebody didn't do a real climate check before giving world football's biggest party to Qatar.
One winter World Cup won't just affect 2021-22 European seasons. It will have numerous impacts on the seasons before and after the tournament, including the movement of fixtures in order to accommodate Qualifiers. Multiple transfer windows will also likely have to be adjusted.
Then there are the television providers located around the world that shell out literally hundreds of millions of dollars in order to show EPL, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and other matches. Networks that hold the broadcast rights to domestic leagues AND the World Cup won't be affected minus schedule changes. In the United States where that isn't the case, however, companies such as beIN Sport and NBC (and maybe ESPN nine years down the road) are likely not going to merely sit back and go on a month-long soccer hiatus while FOX broadcasts the highest-rated sporting event of the year and possibly of all time.
The hope for those who are against a winter World Cup and/or a Qatar World Cup is that Zwanziger and Scudamore speaking up will open the proverbial floodgates, and that a plethora of execs from all over Europe will go public and make similar comments sooner than later. Two things we know for sure about 2022 as of the posting of this piece are that the FIFA president says that the Qatar World Cup cannot happen in summer, and that multiple influential people in world football have publicly stated that a winter world cup will not work for a variety of reasons.
That leaves only one logical option. Doesn't it?
Zac has been covering the USMNT, Holland, Tottenham Hotspur, New York Red Bulls, Major League Soccer and other soccer leagues for Yahoo! Sports since 2010.
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