World Cup

Scudamore wary of momentum shift

Richard Scudamore
Richard Scudamore is worried about the shift in conversation surrounding the 2022 World Cup.
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HONG KONG (AP)

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore is concerned that momentum is swinging in favor of moving the 2022 World Cup from summer to winter.

A long-time critic of the idea on the grounds that would impact too greatly on Europe's domestic leagues, Scudamore is more worried than ever after FIFA president Sepp Blatter's recent U-turn on the scheduling.

''Ultimately FIFA will decide, so of course one is worried,'' Scudamore said Thursday in Hong Kong, where the Premier League Asia Trophy is being staged. ''We're not silly. We're not stupid. We can see that that's the way the momentum is shifting.''

Blatter last week revealed he planned to ask FIFA's executive committee to consider moving the World Cup in Qatar to the winter months in order to avoid the searing summer heat in the Gulf.

Despite health concerns included in an official report before the vote, the FIFA executive committee opted in 2010 to select the audacious bid from the tiny emirate, where temperatures can hit 50 C (122 F) during the summer.

Air-conditioned stadiums to beat the heat were a defining theme of Qatar's bid, but the cooling technology only resolves the problem in venues for players, fans and officials. Blatter now says football's governing body has to ''protect our commercial partners, our TV partners.''

But Scudamore said he would continue to fight the proposal, saying FIFA voters accepted the bid based on a summer tournament and any change to that could cause chaos for the major domestic competitions.

''I just think it's wrong that they can then ... they can't really just decide to shift it by six months,'' he said. ''Everybody's running a tight calendar. To suddenly change it all around is very impractical and in my view won't work and it shouldn't be allowed to work.''

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