With the usual slowness of all huge bureaucracies, FIFA seems to be coming to the self-evident conclusion that it isn't possible to play football in the middle of a desert during the warmest period of the year.
In a perfectly logical world or even a world where common sense has an involvement in decision making, Qatar of course would not have the World Cup. The football world's premier competition would not be being hosted by a tiny country that is mostly desert and that has been accused of using slave labour to build its stadiums.
Unfortunately though, the World Cup is going to Qatar and it is going to have to be played in winter. The thought is now turning towards what is going to happen to all the European leagues when the World Cup is on during the middle of their seasons.
The knee-jerk approach is that the European leagues will have to go on hiatus. Stop and think about it for a minute and it is clear this isn't desirable and might not even be possible.
The World Cup in Brazil will run from the 12th June to the 13th of July. That's a period of 4 and a bit weeks. Add in a week and a half for the national teams to train before the tournament that's six weeks. Add in a week of players training back and their clubs/resting post-tournament and you're up to seven weeks. The best part of two months.
The longest winter break is the Bundesliga's that runs from the 23rd December last year to the 24th January 2014. That is half the time that the World Cup would need. Playing the World Cup in the winter would mean essentially not playing a domestic season in Europe at all.
Fortunately, other sports can show football the way. The county cricket season continues whilst England play test cricket. Perhaps more pertinently the Rugby Union season continues whilst the Rugby World cup and the Six Nations is played. This of course adds an extra layer of strategy and excitement to player recruitment in these sports.
Do you sign that world class international knowing that you will likely lose him for
two months? Or do you sign that slightly less good player who is available all year round? Imagine how exciting the Premier League would be if the top teams international packed elevens were to suddenly become useless.
You could make things even more interesting and allow for international teams to
substitute players in and out of the World Cup squads. This would allow England to call up an evergreen Wayne Rooney when he suddenly enters one of his purple patches of scoring aged 40+.
If the footballing world is going to embrace the silliness of a mid-season World Cup then it should go all out and make things as interesting as possible.
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