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European clubs ‘open’ to winter 2022 World Cup

Boost for Sepp Blatter, but ECA say there is no rush to make a decision

Europe’s leading clubs said yesterday that they remain “open” to the possibility of a one-off winter World Cup in 2022.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter wants the tournament moved to avoid the searing temperatures in Qatar in the summer months.

European Club Association (ECA) chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says his members agree with Blatter in principle, but he added that a decision was not needed imminently.

“We’re not in a hurry, there are still nine years to go,” said Rummenigge following the ECA general assembly in Geneva. “The feeling is it is probably better to play it in winter.”

The viability of hosting the World Cup in Qatar has been debated intensely ever since the tiny Middle Eastern state was awarded the right to host the event.

In an interview on Monday, Blatter told InsideWorldFootball.com that it may have been a mistake to hand the tournament to the Gulf country at the time, adding that he wants his executive committee to support his call for a switch at their next meeting in Zurich on October 4.

But Rummenigge countered: “I don’t understand why Fifa would like to make an early decision. I personally believe there is no hurry.

“Having the World Cup in Qatar is not a mistake. But we are requesting a solution which in the end does not affect our business too much. After visiting Qatar at our last general assembly we had a good feeling about the organisation of a World Cup there.”

Uefa president Michel Platini has already said that when he voted for Qatar in December 2010 he had expected the World Cup to be played in winter.

“We will have a discussion in Dubrovnik, but we will do it very carefully in the right way,” Rummenigge said.

“We have to be very careful in terms of how much a change from summer to a different time would impact on our business.

“We want guarantees that we are involved in the decision-making process.”

There are 10 English teams that are members of the European Club Association — Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton, Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle and Tottenham.

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