Global Sports : Blatter Calls For Early Final

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FIFA president Sepp Blatter wants the 2022 World Cup final to be played no later than December 18 and has called for “solidarity” among unhappy European associations.
FIFA’s Task Force proposed on Tuesday holding the tournament in Qatar in November and December due to the extreme heat in June and July when football’s showpiece event usually takes place.
It had been proposed that the final could take place as late as 23 December – a date that would cause huge disruption to the Christmas and New Year fixtures in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Blatter has arrived in Belfast for this weekend’s International Football Association Board meeting and he said that he would propose that the 18th should be the last day to be considered for the final to the FIFA executive committee when it meets next month.
“The World Cup will not go on until the 23rd, definitely not, we have to stop at the 18th,” Blatter said. “I am against going to the 23rd.”
World Cup finals are traditionally played on a Sunday – which 18 December 2022 is. The date is also Qatar’s national day.
Blatter brushed off claims that the European associations – including the Premier League – were ‘furious’ about the proposal for a winter World Cup, stressing they had over six years to get used to the idea.
He said: “They are not so furious – they are not so very happy – and it’s so good now to make a little noise about FIFA and the World Cup in Qatar but they have more than six years to prepare and where there is goodwill there will be a solution.”
He also reiterated FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke’s claim that European leagues would not be compensated for lost revunues – something called for by Karl-Heinz Rumenigge, the chairman of the European Clubs Association.
However, Blatter insists a solution can be found, adding: “This is something we have not discussed in depth but I have been personally in contact with Karl-Heinz Rumenigge before this decision to see how a solution can be found.
“This is football. The European clubs are not so happy but they should be in solidarity. This is the important thing.
“There are problems and discussions and the problems need to be solved.”
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore insists financial recompense has never been a target.
“In all of the FIFA task force meetings I consistently told FIFA that the Premier League wants consideration, not compensation,” said Scudamore.
English clubs are concerned about the impact a December World Cup would have on the traditional Christmas fixtures, in particular Boxing Day.
Blatter’s intervention on Friday may reassure them, as players would be able to be back in England and available – even if they played in the final – for the Boxing Day matches.
Former Manchester United chief executive David Gill, now a member of UEFA’s executive committee, came out in support of the Swiss.
He said: “I’m encouraged by the fact president Blatter has come out and said it can’t be on the 23rd and the 18th would be the latest it can be which I think is at least a move in the right direction.”
A final decision on the dates will be taken by FIFA’s executive committee on March 20.

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