FIFA President Sepp Blatter spoke with The Associated Press Sunday, August 25 about the highly controversial 2022 FIFA World Cup. FIFA’s executive committee will meet on October 3rd and 4th to make the highly anticipated switch to a winter World Cup rather than the traditional June to July months when the tournament is often played.
There are a variety of parties involved in making this switch, including major international leagues, the international player’s union, and clubs. The switch to a winter World Cup is due to player safety. Playing games in a nation where temperatures often exceed 100 degrees F would impact the tournament significantly. Qatar’s initial bid for the World Cup in 2010 suggested the nation would incorporate technology in stadiums to cool the field to 81 degrees. Blatter explained,
I would be very much surprised, more than surprised, if the ExCo [FIFA’s Executive Committee] will not accept the principle you cannot play in summer in Qatar. Those that have taken the decision at the time, they knew there is problems with the heat. They knew it, because it was in the (technical) report. It was wrong to say, `Now we have to play in summer,’ because in summer you cannot play there.
If the tournament is switched to the winter months, Blatter suggested beginning the event in November, as January and February may conflict with the Winter Olympics held in 2022. While this change suits player safety, the tournament would then coincide with European club schedules. Top teams that play in leagues such as the Premier League and the Bundesliga would lose their best talent to the World Cup. The United States could potentially benefit from this change since U.S. national team players that play in MLS would end their season in October or November.