DOHA - Staging a World Cup in January
could help players produce their best form as they would not
be suffering from end-of-season burnout, Asian Football
Confederation President Mohamed Bin Hammam has told Reuters.
The 61-year-old Qatari, whose country will host the World
Cup finals in 2022, said in an interview that Qatar was also
fully prepared to meet the challenges of hosting the finals in
the hot Middle Eastern summer months of June and July.
Last year's tournament in South Africa saw several of the
world's top players clearly performing below their best and
many coaches said this was because they were struggling after
long domestic seasons.
Bin Hammam, who is standing unopposed for a third term as
AFC president at Thursday's AFC Congress in Doha, told
Reuters: "If you follow the organisation of the World Cup
usually the coaches are complaining that their players are
exhausted by the end of the season.
"In June and July many of the players are fed up of any
football, which is why FIFA came with the idea to finish the
seasons and the leagues earlier by at least two weeks.
"Maybe people will think that if we organise the World Cup
in the middle of the season when the players are still very
fit, can still produce, can still can get better results, it
will be better for the players, the coaches and good for the
The idea of holding the finals in January 2022 emerged
after Qatar beat off opposition from South Korea, Japan,
Australia and the United States in Zurich last month.
Qatar's bid was based on a World Cup in June and July and
they have developed plans to cool stadiums and training
grounds. However, the ambient temperature can regularly top
40C in those months, raising health concerns.
Bin Hammam recognised there were organisational problems
hosting the World Cup in January, but thought they could be
"Most of the important leagues in the world, usually, have
this month off - not necessarily every country, but very few
leagues continuously play through January.
"If the competition is organised in January, most clubs
will not be affected because effectively they are in their
off-season, so if it is a win-win situation we can do it."
He said any decision on when the finals would be held had
not even been discussed by FIFA's executive committee, of
which he is a member.
"It is not Qatar's concern if it is shifted. We can
organise it in June and July when we have to face the
challenge of the heat and we are very well prepared to make
June and July two very comfortable months.
"If it is better for the competition to be shifted, then I
think we should accept."
As far as matches being played in other countries, another
issue raised since Qatar won the right to stage the finals, he
said: "We have read about this in the media, but we have never
discussed it in the Executive Committee."
Bin Hammam was speaking before Thursday's Asian
Confederation Congress in Doha when Jordan's Prince Ali bin Al
Hussein will stand against the incumbent Chung Mong-joon of
South Korea for one of Asia's four places on the FIFA executive.
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