European clubs fear winter 2022 World Cup

Europe's football clubs flagged concerns in Geneva on Tuesday about plans to shift the 2022 World Cup to the winter to avoid host Qatar's stifling summer heat, amid fears of havoc in their leagues.

European clubs fear winter 2022 World Cup
Head of European Club Association Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. Photo: Michael Lucan

Bayern Munich boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, head of the European Club Association, said there was major disquiet among its 214 member teams about the idea, floated by FIFA and backed by UEFA.
"We would like to be involved in the decision-making process on a serious and high level," Rummenigge said.

"Because it is, of course, impacting our business, so we want to have the guarantee that we will be involved in the decision-making process," the former Germany star told reporters as the ECA's general assembly wrapped up in Geneva.

Sepp Blatter, president of global football's governing body FIFA, has insisted that shifting the World Cup from its traditional months of June and July makes sense for 2022.
Summer temperatures in the Gulf can hit a blistering 50 degrees Celsius, but cool to the mid-20s in the winter.
This week, Blatter upped the ante by saying it was not responsible to play in Qatar in the summer, even though technology exists to cool venues.
European nations, in particular England, have cried foul at the idea of holding the globe's most-watched sporting event in January and February, however.
They underline that Qatar bid to host the tournament during Europe's June-July close season, and that a change would disrupt their domestic leagues.
Rummenigge said heat was part and parcel of football, recalling the stifling weather when he played in the 1986 World Cup final in Mexico.
Northern hemisphere summer dates have been stuck to in the past even when the World Cup was staged in the southern hemisphere — the weather at the 2010 edition in South Africa was often chilly, for example.
But Blatter argues that June and July are never set in stone, and that rescheduling would reflect football's global appeal by showing that anyone can host the World Cup.
The 2022 edition will be the first in the Arab world.
"I believe everybody was a bit surprised," Rummenigge responded when asked whether choosing Qatar was wrongheaded.

"But I don't know if it was a mistake, because the policy of FIFA was always to bring the World Cup to different continents," he noted.

He said European football understood fully that it was not alone on the planet.
"Of course we need a global solution, not just a solution for Europe," he said.

"That's why we have to be sensible to find the best solution."
Michel Platini, head of European football's governing body UEFA, has also backed a switch, last month slapping down the English Premier League, who insist that moving the location makes more sense than shifting to the winter.
The issue will be under discussion at a UEFA board meeting next week, while Blatter wants it on the table at a session of FIFA's executive in October, but Rummenigge insisted things should not be rushed.

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‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame

A Swiss super fan who has shot to fame after images of him watching Switzerland’s win over France went viral told the media he was unaware of his viral fame - but that he was overwhelmed with the world’s attention.

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame
Image: Twitter.

Like most Swiss football fans, Luca Loutenbach’s Monday evening – highlighted by a surprise upset win over the current World Champions and tournament favourite France – went about as well as you could have expected. 

But while his side were putting on the pressure through late goals to push the game into extra time, Loutenbach’s image was being shared across the world. 

Two pictures of Loutenbach, juxtaposed from before and after Switzerland scored an equaliser in the 90th minute to send the game to extra time, were widely shared. 

The images were even shared by Sadiq Kahn, the mayor of London, who congratulated Switzerland and said the images summed up the beauty of football. 

On Tuesday, Loutenbach spoke with Swiss tabloid Blick to tell the story. He said he had no idea about the images as his phone had no reception in Romania – and only found out after the game. 

“I didn’t have a network during the game. But some fans around me were connected to the internet and quickly realized what was happening. What an incredible buzz!” said the man from the canton of Jura. 

While Switzerland have made it further than they have in their history in the tournament, Loutenbach is far from a bandwagon fan. He told Blick he’s seen around 50 national team games before. 

“It’s the most beautiful day in the history of Swiss football, let’s not be afraid of saying it. It is the accomplishment of the immense work of the ASF (Federation), of (coach) Petkovic and of the whole team” he said.