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Seifert issues Qatar World Cup warning

22 May 2013 16:17:09

Seifert issues Qatar World Cup warning

Any attempt to move the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to the winter could lead to legal challenges by European leagues to force a re-vote by FIFA, Bundesliga chief executive Christian Seifert has warned.

Seifert says it is "impossible" to play in Qatar in the heat of the summer but foresees legal action from Europe - where leagues would face disruption to three seasons - if it is moved to the winter as the likes of UEFA president Michel Platini have called for.

Seifert said at a briefing in London: "This is the crucial point - can they move to the winter without making a re-run again? I am not sure legally if you can just say 'we will just play in winter'. As far as I understand, it was an invitation to tender and I'm very sure especially England is watching out for what happens there and I understand that."

Asked if there should be a re-vote, Seifert added: "I cannot say because I did not know the tender. At the end of the day the lawyers decide if there is a re-vote. I am absolutely sure if countries like England see a chance of a re-vote they will force a re-vote.

"If you do a tender - and we are forced to do a tender by our cartel authorities - then the rules must be clear for all. From other leagues I do have the feeling they are also very upset with the situation - that the decision was done and that a four-week tournament affects maybe three years of running of professional football leagues in Europe."

Seifert also criticised FIFA for ignoring the leagues and choosing Qatar in the first place, and welcomed the world governing body's recognition that the summer heat would be an issue.

Speaking tongue-in-cheek, he added: "We are really happy that FIFA recognises it's warm in the summer in Qatar. This is a great, great finding. I am absolutely convinced that it is hard, if not impossible, to play a World Cup in the summer in Qatar.

"Maybe you can create an artificial second sky over the whole country or over the stadia but what does that mean for the people in the media who need to work there, what does that mean for the fans who are there?

"When I grew up as a kid this is not what I have in mind when I think about a FIFA World Cup. Maybe because of my impressions of 2006 because this was the first time where there were public viewings and people on the street, so many English people in Germany, where it was a special atmosphere in the country. And I doubt if that could work with 48 degrees on the street."

The Premier League is not believed to be considering any immediate legal challenge but confirmed its opposition to a winter World Cup. Premier League communications director Dan Johnson said: "We think moving the World Cup to winter is fraught with difficulties and not workable or desirable from a European football perspective."


PA

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