LAUSANNE - International Olympic Committee
(IOC) president Jacques Rogge asked the world governing football
body FIFA on Thursday to hold talks before deciding to stage the
2022 Qatar World Cup in winter because of a possible clash with
the Winter Olympics.
Qatar was awarded the 2022 event in December after bidding
for a summer tournament. However, FIFA president Sepp Blatter
has said the world's biggest single sports event could be held
in the northern hemisphere winter to avoid scorching summer
temperatures in the desert state.
"We have had no contact with FIFA because this is a very
hypothetical discussion. FIFA has not taken a decision to shift
(the World Cup) to winter months," Rogge told reporters.
"It would be sensible once a decision is envisaged by FIFA
to sit around the table to see it is not harmful for either of
the two parties.
"FIFA will take quietly a decision, taking into
consideration the bracket that we have to respect. This might be
a sensible decision to avoid the clash."
Winter Olympics are traditionally held over 16 days between
the last week of January and the end of February. The 2022 Games
will be awarded in 2015.
"The original foreseen dates for the 2022 World Cup was
mid-June, end of July. That is what is what was in the
documents. FIFA voted on this with (playing in) air-conditioned
venues," said Rogge.
Blatter told reporters in the Qatari capital before the
opening match of the Asian Cup last week: "I expect it will be
held in the winter."
"We have time to look at this question, it is still 11 years
away but we must decide the most adequate period for a
successful World Cup which means January or the end of the
Qatar was awarded the finals despite a report from FIFA's
own inspectors that said playing matches in the summer when
temperatures soar to more than 40 degrees Celsius posed a health
risk to players and fans alike.
Since Qatar was chosen there has been a groundswell of
opinion that the tournament should be staged in winter.
Blatter said that even though Qatar's bid document made no
reference to switching from the traditional June and July
period, FIFA were not bending the rules.
"Do not forget there are still 11 years to go and although
we have the basic conditions of their bid for a June and July
World Cup, the FIFA executive committee is entitled to change
anything that was in the bid," he said.
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