The idea of a winter World Cup has brought a lot of criticism from leading figures in the domestic leagues of European football.
Richard Scudamore, chief of the Premier League is one such man who came out and the Telegraph quoted him saying that it is easier for ‘presidential’ people to make these decisions because ‘they don’t have to work.’
What work would the Football Associations around Europe have to do? Firstly the changing of the fixture dates. The Brazilian World Cup looks to run from the 12th of June to the 13th of July, and even though the actual playing would only take out a month of games, the preparation before and after would extend this to two months.
This could affect the bigger teams in Europe depending on the competitions they were to play in. Over the December-January period in the 2012/2013 season, Chelsea had to play eighteen games due to the Club World Cup, FA Cup and Premier League. Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City had to play between thirteen and fifteen games. Even without any other cups to play for a Premier League team would have to move ten of its games.
So where do these games go? They could either extend the end of the season by two months but this would mean that the teams would have no pre-season at all and effectively have to play one and a half seasons on the trot.
It would be better to add one month at the beginning of the season and one month at the end. Yet the time needed at the beginning of the season for best runner up places in the Champions League would have to start even earlier. The Premier League would also have to work with UEFA to make sure the Champions League and Europa League could be structured around the World Cup.
Would the transfer windows have to be changed as well? It would possibly be needed to open a month earlier so that new players can assimilate into the squad. The winter transfer window could stay in January but it could lead to a poor World Cup with players thinking about domestic transfers rather than playing international football.
Different players would be affected differently, especially in the English, Spanish and German leagues. England has a wide variety of international players from all over the world and so the World Cup would affect the top teams who have Spanish, German and Italian players.
These players could be at the World Cup for longer than others and with Spain’s national team made up of a majority of Barcelona and Real Madrid players; other teams in La Liga could take the opportunity to topple the two top teams.
The World Cup would normally have an effect on domestic pre-season, it could be disastrous for the top teams. However, the medical evidence is clear, even though changing the date of the World Cup would cause chaos it would be impossible to play in such heat and the fans would also suffer. Theo Zwanziger, part of the FIFA executive committee, called for the World Cup to be cancelled if it was a bad decision, but no football fan would want to see that.
It seems time for people to hold their hands up and admit that they were wrong, and hand the World Cup to another country who would be ready to hold it in 2022.
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