Europe backs winter World Cup

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The 54 member associations of UEFA have today backed the potential move of the 2022 Qatar World Cup to the winter.

In what was a significant step towards a first-ever winter tournament, the countries have given their support to the move which is expected to be agreed in principle by the FIFA executive committee at its meeting in Zurich at the beginning of October.

Jim Boyce, Britain's FIFA vice-president, attended the meeting in Croatia today and he said: "What has come out of this meeting, and what I think is sensible, is an agreement by the UEFA countries that the World Cup cannot be played in Qatar in the summer. 

"Everyone was certainly in agreement about that."

FIFA president Sepp Blatter admitted recently that it might have been a "mistake" to award the finals to Qatar in the first place, as temperatures in the country during the summer months can reach up to 40 degrees celsius.

A winter proposal was met with stern opposition however, due to the impact it might cause on domestic leagues and the Champions League, and Boyce believes there shouldn't be any rush in deciding exactly when to stage the tournament.

He said: "What the 54 countries do not want FIFA to do is to make a decision yet on exactly when in the year it is going to be played.

"There is still nine years to go and people feel FIFA should sit down with all the major shareholders and come up with a solution that would cause the minimum disruption to football.

"There is plenty of time to do that in my opinion and hopefully football will be the winner."

It is believed that the British associations told the meeting that they want protection for domestic football in the Christmas week, while UEFA are said to want the tournament to take place in January in order to avoid disruption to the Champions League.

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