The rumblings around the much disliked winning bid by Qatar for the 2022 (#Football) World Cup seem to have surfaced yet again, despite the tournament being still some seven years away. The latest disagreement is around the potential (or rather the lack of) compensation to the various clubs and leagues around the world, who feel that they will be severely disrupted by any re-arrangements (as now seems highly probable) to play the tournament in November and December. The switch to the winter months for the European nations has seemed inevitable, given the extreme playing conditions that would be faced by the players with a summer event (as per usual), yet any such move looks set to bring with it a logistical (and financial) nightmare to accommodate the fixtures.
Fifa have made it clear that they will not pay out any compensation as a result, as the countries involved in the biggest world football competition around would face the prospect of the final becoming a Christmas extravaganza on 23rd December 2022. The thought of mixing carol singing with the echoes of vuvuzelas, swapping mince pies for Messi and crying under the mistletoe as England depart once more at the quarter-finals (or earlier) is not everyone's flavour of the month it seems. Yet, Fifa do not share the belief that many leagues seem to hold, that they should be apologising for their decision to schedule the tournament as they intend to, with the consequent disruption and re-planning necessary for the leagues. Indeed many feel that the ripple effects will be felt both before and after the World Cup of 2022 has finished, as the countries try to effectively play 'catch up' on losing such a long period when matches would usually be played.
The recommendation to switch the prestigious tournament to the winter months was made by a Fifa taskforce, in order to avoid Qatar's extremely hot summer temperatures. Typically, during the months of July and August, Qatar can expect to see temperatures soar as high as 40 degrees centigrade, whereas the months of November and December, whilst still hot, are far easier to bear at around 25-30 degrees centigrade. The decision was made not only to 'appease' the players, who would be facing extreme physical demands on them during the games, but also the fans who would be sweating profusely themselves whilst watching the entertainment in the stadiums. It had been suggested that air conditioning in the stadiums could have assisted in that respect, even with a summer event, but clearly that has been determined as not being sufficient.
Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke made his views on the subject quite clear, saying that "there will be no compensation," arguing that "there are seven years to reorganise."
Interestingly, some of the European nations already have a winter break to their domestic league football schedules, so for them there would seem to be less disruption at first sight. However, well-established leagues such as the #Premier League in England play right through the Christmas period, indeed they often schedule a plethora of games during the Christmas week itself.
Although the recent African Cup of Nations tournament was held while the domestic European leagues played on, depriving many clubs of some of their star names during that period as a consequence, a similar move could not occur for the World Cup. Far too many players would be away on international duty and the domestic clubs would be unable to field anything like strong enough sides, if that was contemplated.With many years until the event itself, no doubt more will be heard on this hot topic in the months and years to come.