Matt’s Monologue: Christmas in Qatar

This week, a FIFA task force has recommended that the 2022 world cup in Qatar takes place in November and December.

Now that is no shock in itself. it was always going to be too hot to play in the summer and they did not want it to clash with the winter olympics at the other end of the year.

This obviously leads to a number of concerns, none more so than the sheer disruption it is going to cause to leagues not only across the continent, but on a global scale.

They are going to have to either take a seriously long break to accommodate the tournament (and I would guess that we are talking 6-8 weeks), or shift the start and finish team of the season.

If the latter is chosen, it will have repercussions for years. You cannot simply change the dates for one season – you would probably have to start two or three campaigns earlier and have a gradual move.

The same would happen for the same amount of time afterwards, so this would even knock on to the European Championships in 2020 and 2024.

Naturally, this was my first thought anyway process anyway.

Unfortunately, it was not mirrored by some of the game’s most important people.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, for example, the European Club chairman (he also holds the same role at Bayern Munich) reckons compensation should be given to teams for the disruption that will be caused.

They should not “be expected to bear the costs for such rescheduling,” he said.

Fair enough. But if they really feel so strongly, if it is going to be such a problem, would a better answer not to be pull out of the tournament altogether?

It appears that a number of countries and top officials are against playing in Qatar, be it in the summer or winter. There are numerous people who dislike FIFA as an organisation too.

If they want to send out a message, and a strong one at that, then do not play in the tournament. If a number of nations club together, action would have to be taken.

In a situation like this, financially paying of those who are disheartened should not be the answer.

That is especially so when you consider where any money would probably go.

In an interview with Mark Palios this week, the Rovers chairman told me that around 50 leagues would be effected by a winter world cup. He also pointed out that of the players who went to the 2014 tournament in Brazil, around 75% plied their trade in Europe.

The likes of La Liga, Serie A and the Premier League continuing is completely out of the question then. But it would be bodies like these that got the money.

The disruption would not stop there though. Would the Football League have a break to accommodate the tournament? No, because it would not be worth while, especially in League One and Two.

But, as Palios also pointed out to me that attendances, a club like Tranmere will take a battering because people will stay at home and watch an international match as opposed to League Two (hopefully higher by then!) football.

I am sure we will find out soon what the latest chapter in this saga is. But, just for the record, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke says there will be no compensation.


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