New Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has risked the wrath of the Premier League by calling for the 2022 Qatar World Cup not to take place during the Gulf summer.
Qatar was awarded the right to host the tournament in 2010, but world governing body FIFA, soccer players’ union FIFPro and European governing body UEFA have since called for it to be moved to later in the year.
Mid-year temperatures in the Gulf can reach a sweltering 50oC, whereas in December the average highest temperature is a markedly cooler 24oC.
Dyke, who took up his role last month, agrees that the tournament should not go ahead as scheduled, and he even suggested the competition could be awarded to another country.
“I don’t know how many people have been to Qatar in June, but I have and one thing I can tell you is that you couldn’t play a football tournament in Qatar in June,” he told reporters during an FA lunch in London on Friday.
“Even if the stadia are air-conditioned — which seems, in terms of the green policy, a bit strange — I think for the crowds, for the fans, it would be impossible. My position, and I suspect the FA’s position, will be: You can’t play it in June, you can’t play it in the summer in Qatar,” Dyke said.
“FIFA therefore has got two choices: You move it, and you either move it in time or you move it to another location. I suspect either ends up in some kind of litigation, but then someone should have worked that out in 2010 when it was awarded,” he added.
Dyke’s stance is directly at odds with that of the lucrative and powerful English Premier League, which is the world’s most-watched national championship.
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore, believes moving the Qatar World Cup to the winter would create “chaos” for the major European leagues, but Dyke says the wheels are already in motion.
“I understand the reaction of the Premier League to not want to move it. I have some sympathy for them,” he said. “We didn’t have to give it to Qatar in the summer, but that’s when it is and therefore I think it will either be moved out of the summer or be moved to another location. And I suspect the former is more likely than the latter.”
Dyke’s predecessor as FA chairman, David Bernstein, expressed opposition to the proposals to move the tournament during his tenure, calling them “fundamentally flawed.”