When Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup, their bid was to host a summer tournament - but with summer temperatures in the Arab state regularly exceeding 45 degrees, there has been much talk of hosting the World Cup in the cooler winter months.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has strongly denied reports that the World Cup will be hosted in the winter, but his second-in-command Jerome Valcke recently dropped the biggest hint yet that the Qatar World Cup will be held in the winter.
When talking to a French radio station, Valcke ruled out playing the tournament in June and July and instead chose a date between November and January, creating media frenzy.
Although Blatter again denied these latest reports, many believe that the decision is a formality and the thought of changing the iconic summer World Cup to a winter tournament is unpopular with many, no more so than the Premier League clubs and managers alike.
A winter World Cup would cause havoc for the Premier League and would surely be disaster for managers and clubs, with so much at stake in the modern game.
Premier League chiefs would be faced with the difficult decision of whether to continue the Premier League without its major stars, much like the African Cup of Nations, or opt for an extended mid-season interval to allow players to play in both the World Cup and the Premier League.
A mid-season interval would be the likely choice, but it is more complicated than that. Imagine if England failed to qualify for the tournament, would the Premier League still have to include a mid-season break to ensure that the many foreign Premier League players don’t miss out?
It would be a difficult situation for the Premier League and the FA to handle, English football reaches its peak over the busy festive period and all this would in all probability be taken away for a year, should Qatar win the right to host a winter tournament.
Premier League clubs will be sweating at the thought of a winter World Cup, they will be concerned about player fatigue and injuries and who could blame them for being reluctant when they pay their sky-high wages.
A 2022 winter World Cup in Qatar would be a nightmare for the Premier League clubs, but should Blatter and FIFA opt for a winter World Cup, they can’t really do that much about it.
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