Winter sports see threat in November 2022 WCup
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The senior Olympic winter sports official sees a threat in FIFA choosing November for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar — even if the proposed date avoids a clash with the Winter Games.
Rene Fasel, who heads the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations, told The Associated Press on Monday that scheduling soccer’s marquee tournament in November would conflict with events for all seven of his members.
“November is the start of the season for maybe, I would say, all the other federations,” said Fasel, an IOC executive board member and president of ice hockey’s governing body. “For sure, we have to put up the flag and say, ‘Hey guys, be careful.’”
Senior officials from the seven Winter Olympic federations — representing biathlon, bobsled, curling, ice hockey, luge, skiing and skating — are meeting this week. They will discuss the International Ski Federation’s proposal for a united stand against FIFA moving the World Cup into the traditional winter sports season.
“We should really clearly show our position and protect our own interests,” Fasel said in an interview.
FIFA is considering moving its tournament from the usual June-July period to avoid the scorching summer heat in Qatar. A decision might not come until 2015.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter has suggested November, while UEFA President Michel Platini prefers a January start. A January World Cup would conflict with the lead-in to the 2022 Winter Olympics in February.
“That’s why we have to sit at the table and discuss: ‘Sepp, what do we do? How do we go?’” Fasel said.
A spring option in April-May 2022 has been suggested by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, head of the European clubs’ association.
“For the moment I keep cool,” Fasel said. “We will see what really will be the decision in FIFA, how Qatar will react and which position there will be.”
Skiing’s governing body has long cautioned FIFA against moving into the traditional winter sports calendar, and on Sunday issued a statement opposing any such switch.
“FIS will submit a proposal to the other six international winter sports federations to sign a resolution against organizing the FIFA World Cup during the winter sports season in 2022,” the Switzerland-based body said.
On Monday, winter sports officials gathered in Lausanne for a three-day gathering of all Olympic federations.
Bobsled federation President Ivo Ferriani said the FIS proposal had yet to be submitted to the AIOWF membership. Fasel said informal discussions will be followed up at a next meeting at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in February.