FIFA President Sepp Blatter has recently done a U-turn and suggested that he would now like to see the World Cup in Qatar 2022 played in the winter, rather than in its traditional summer slot.
This has understandably not gone down well with the Premier League, who has stated that if this change goes ahead, it will be chaotic for them and cause problems with regards to their broadcasting contracts.
Blatter and FIFA claim to have the best interests of the average punter at heart. They claim that the World Cup is “for the people” and as such it is unfair to ask the “people” to travel to Qatar and watch football in unbearable weather conditions. I assume that what he means by this is that he is concerned that revenue will take a hit if people genuinely are put off by travelling to the middle East at the height of summer in that region. It is a valid concern health wise, but Blatter is only looking at it from a financial point of view.
The Premier League is also only looking at it from a financial point of view. They do not want to upset the large corporations who pour ludicrous amounts of cash into screening Premier League football matches, and also those who pay large amounts of money in advertising. As such, the Premier League and FIFA look set to clash over proposals to move the World Cup.
Personally, I think that both parties should press ahead with their own plans and see what happens. If FIFA want to move the World Cup to the winter, then so be it. The Premier League should just carry on regardless. Of course, a few clubs will be weakened by having their international players away on international duty, but it would certainly make things more interesting.
Younger players and fringe players would suddenly get an opportunity to represent their clubs in meaningful league matches, and lesser clubs will be able to pick up valuable points whilst the top clubs deploy a damage limitation exercise to cope in the absence of their top stars.
As a football fan, I can think of nothing better than to watch Premier League games in the afternoon with club sides fielding experimental sides in matches that experts can no longer predict the outcome of, followed by World Cup matches later in the day. A veritable feast of football, where everybody wins.
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