Global Sports : ‘We’ve Been Let Down’

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Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore says major European clubs are “very disappointed” by a FIFA task recommendation to play the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in November/December.
Scudamore, who was a member of the task force that met in Doha to recommend a date for the tournament, also said he felt “let down” by UEFA over the dates.
The recommendation for a shortened “late November to late December” World Cup will now be taken to FIFA’s executive committee meeting in Zurich on March 19 and 20 for a final decision on the dates.
Following the meeting in Doha, Scudamore said: “Yes, very disappointed that’s the word, on behalf of all the European leagues and particularly the European clubs who provide most of the players for this World Cup.
“The idea that we turned up today, it was a pretty short meeting, to be told that it is going to happen in November and December is very disappointing.
“We had a consistent position all along and for the integrity of the Football League to have to stop for six or seven weeks is less than ideal.”
Scudamore claimed others were able to protect their competitions, while Europe’s leagues had to give up space in their calendar and that nobody else is “giving much up”.
He said: “FIFA keep their international dates, they keep their World Cup intact, even UEFA, who, I think, let us down a little bit, clearly pushed this…so their Champions League can start and carry on again, just like it always does.”
And Scudamore also claimed that there was little discussion during the meeting. “We were pretty much told, hence the disappointment,” he added.
The Premier League chief also warned that a World Cup final taking place in late December could see the whole Christmas and New Year football fixture programme removed.
He said: “The prevailing view from the leagues has been that displacing the 2022 World Cup significantly from the original summer dates disproportionately impacts the sporting integrity of our competitions.
“Our particular concern is that a FIFA World Cup that finishes late in December could result in damaging one of the English game’s great traditions and attractions, with the removal of the entire Premier League, Football League and FA Cup Christmas and New Year fixture programme that season.
“Clearly there is still time within the process to consider our position further, but first we will consult with our clubs, other stakeholders in English football, and other leagues before deciding on what, if any, further action might be appropriate or worthwhile.”
The decision to move the World Cup – traditionally played in June and July – has led to speculation that some European leagues might seek compensation.
But Scudamore said the Premier League has not been “talking about compensations” and would leave it “for others to go down that route.”
Football Asociation chairman Greg Dyke said the timing of the tournament is far from ideal but admitted the November/December schedule ‘is the best of the bad options’.
But Dyke is adamant his governing body will do everything in its power to protect the traditional festive periods for club matches which are so popular with British fans.
“I have said from the start we cannot possibly play in the summer in Qatar, it would be ridiculous to play then,” he said.
‘Unnecessary’
“The best option would be to not hold it in Qatar, but we are now beyond that so November/December would seem to be the best of the bad options.
“It will clearly disrupt the whole football calendar as it means club football stopping at the end of October. You might be able to keep the disruption to one season if you start earlier and end later but it’s going to be tough – and unnecessary because we would not be doing this if FIFA had done their work properly.”
Asked about the final being held as late as December 23, Dyke added: “We will have to wait to hear the detail but we will try to protect all the traditional Christmas dates.”
“We were of the view that November/December would be better than January/February – but that wouldn’t be the case for some European countries who have a winter break in January.”

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