Football

Winter World Cup welcomed

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The clamour for the 2022 World Cup to be played in January has grown with the international players' union the latest to call for a change from the usual June/July tournament.

The move would mean the Premier League and other domestic football tournaments having to have a long winter break.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter and general secretary Jerome Valcke have both thrown their weight behind moves to stage the tournament in January to avoid the heat problems.

Summer temperatures in Qatar can top 50 degrees C and players' union FIFPro are pleased with FIFA's willingness to consider changing the timing to winter.

Tijs Tummers, secretary of FIFPro's technical committee, said: "We will have to take a careful look at the international match calendar, but FIFPro does not foresee any insurmountable problems in this regard.

"Space will have to be made for the tournament, even though many countries already have a winter break.

"In Europe, competitive matches will have to be played in August and the second half of May and the first half of June. If you look at what happened last weekend with weather problems in Europe because of heavy snowfall, you could see this as an advantage rather than as a problem.

"And it might perhaps turn out that the players will be fitter at the start of a winter World Cup than was the case last summer at the World Cup in South Africa."

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