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Premier League bosses criticise 2022 Cup switch plan

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
Wenger says a switch to winter would be too problematic

Premier League managers have come out against the idea of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar being played in January.

Sepp Blatter, head of world football's governing body Fifa, has backed a switch, conceding that summer temperatures in Qatar are too high.

But Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger warned: "It would create problems between clubs and countries and countries and Fifa.

"It would mean completely reorganising the whole world's fixtures, and I cannot see that happening."

The Frenchman continued with a hint of sarcasm: "As you know, we have a Christmas period which is quite busy here, and England would be very happy to play the World Cup in January just after that.

"It looks like an idea that has come out of nowhere because nobody was told that when the bid was voted for."

Fulham manager Mark Hughes said the Premier League would still be playing matches in July if a switch to winter in 2022 happened.

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He said: "That's the only way round it from my interpretation. It's going to be a huge change that year and how it impacts we won't know until it actually happens."

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp's sarcastic response was that the idea was "another clever move from Mr Blatter".

Former England manager Graham Taylor, speaking to Eddie Mair on Radio 4's PM programme, said he found the idea of the switch "amazing".

He added: "If people weren't aware of that prior to the vote then I don't really know what is happening.

Club football dominates in England and they won't take kindly to a four-week - or even more - winter break

Former England boss Graham Taylor

"He's now saying it's going to be too hot in the summer. I mean everyone's been aware of that for goodness knows how long. So I really am at a loss for him coming in now and saying there's a possibility of it being played in the winter."

Taylor said he expected the tournament to go ahead but felt it would cause problems in the Premier League.

"If the Premier League hasn't changed, if we haven't bought into some form of winter break, of course there's a problem, there's no doubt about that," he said.

"Club football dominates in our country and they won't take kindly to something like a four-week - or even more - winter break."

Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup last month, becoming the first Middle Eastern country to be chosen to stage football's most prestigious tournament.

However, concerns were raised almost immediately about playing it at the height of summer, when temperatures in Qatar can exceed 40C.

Fifa president Blatter said on Friday: "Although we have the basic conditions of their bid for a June and July World Cup, the Fifa executive committee is entitled to change anything that was in the bid.

"When you play football you have to protect the main people - the players."

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see also
Blatter expects January World Cup
07 Jan 11 |  Football
Platini open to World Cup change
10 Dec 10 |  Football
Opoku revels in Qatar World Cup
03 Dec 10 |  African
Russia & Qatar to host World Cups
02 Dec 10 |  Football


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