Boyce backs winter World Cup in Qatar

19 March 2013 01:17

Britain's FIFA vice-president has thrown his weight behind calls to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar during the winter.

Jim Boyce, from Northern Ireland, believes the searing heat of July in Qatar, where temperatures often reach more than 45 degrees Celsius, will be too much for players and spectators even with the promise of air-conditioned stadiums.

Boyce told Press Association Sport: "I was not part of the process that gave the World Cup to Qatar, but my feeling is that common sense should prevail. The World Cup is the greatest event in football and from a spectator point of view it has to be played at a time of year when people can enjoy it in comfort."

He added: "People I know who live in Qatar say it would be very uncomfortable for the fans.

"There is also a medical and health concern for both players and spectators and if it is going to be safer to play it in January instead of July then I would be in favour of that."

The Premier League is firmly opposed to its programme being interrupted but Boyce insisted that, given enough notice, it should not cause too much disruption.

He added: "Many other countries already have a winter break so for them it should not be too problematic.

"England is probably the main country where there is no winter break but I believe that even there if they are given enough notice then for just one season it should be possible."

FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said earlier this month that the 2022 World Cup could be moved to the winter if research shows holding the tournament in the summer heat would be dangerous for players, while Michel D'Hooghe, the chairman of FIFA's medical committee, has also backed the move to play it in the winter.

The international calendar has yet to be fixed beyond 2018, so there is scope for the world governing body to allow the change.

Source: PA

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