Top European clubs yet to be persuaded by winter World Cup in 2022

European Club Association vice chairman Umberto Gandini. 

Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

Europe’s top football clubs still need to be convinced the 2022 World Cup in Qatar should be moved from summer.

Although FIFA President Sepp Blatter has presented a switch to November-December as almost inevitable, the European Club Association wants to influence ongoing consultation talks.

”We need more information before accepting the fact that the calendar should be disrupted,” ECA vice chairman Umberto Gandini said Tuesday. ”We would not be part of something which is not credible.”

Gandini, who said FIFA’s final decision on dates was expected any time from ”March to June 2015,” represents the 200-member ECA on a FIFA panel which is seeking ways to avoid playing in the desert heat of June-July.

The AC Milan director updated European club leaders about the first FIFA consultation.

FIFA offered two alternative options, including a November-December tournament, which would shut down top European leagues for two months. The other was January-February, though Blatter has previously assured IOC President Thomas Bach that the World Cup will not clash with the 2022 Winter Olympics, likely in February.

Gandini said the ECA was supported by the English Premier League in stressing that Qatar’s original promise of a June-July tournament was a starting point for talks.

”We must get very strong and decisive reasons for moving the World Cup,” he said, urging FIFA to consider the majority of players and leagues which are not represented at the World Cup. ”What is going to happen to football in the world if we move the World Cup from its natural slot?”

BUNDESLIGA PLAYERS TO WATCH

FIFA’s executive committee awarded Qatar the 2022 hosting rights despite knowing that temperatures routinely rise above 40 degrees C (104 degrees F) in summer.

Still, Gandini said the FIFA panel was told humidity levels in the World Cup in Brazil were just as challenging.

The amazon city of Manaus was ”no worse than the one expected in Qatar at the same time of the year,” Gandini said.

Qatar’s hosting bid pledged to build air-cooled venues for matches and team practices.

Gandini said concerns about heat were ”probably no longer (about) the stadia and the training facilities but what about the general public.”