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FIFA

Fifa urges winter 2022 World Cup in Qatar

Zurich-based Fifa is raising objections to holding the 2022 Qatar World Cup football tournament in the summer despite calls by top European clubs and leagues.

Fifa urges winter 2022 World Cup in Qatar
Photo: FIFA

Fifa's medical chief on Monday highlighted the health risk of holding matches between May and September, while the governing body's secretary general Jerome Valke said there would be a clash with the Muslim fasting month.
   
After a meeting of a task force to decide the dates of the Qatar tournament, Fifa said that a tournament in November-December or January-February was favoured. No firm decision has yet been taken though.
   
"We are getting closer to narrowing the dates for the FIFA World Cup to two options — January/February 2022 or November/December 2022," said Valcke.
   
"But Fifa has also been asked to consider May 2022," he added.
   
"We will summarize what we've heard today and provide feedback to all parties in order for them to prepare for the next meeting as we progress towards a final decision."
   
The European Clubs Association, which groups 214 top clubs including Real Madrid, Manchester United and Bayern Munich, proposed April-May at the meeting.
   
The Association of European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) gave a presentation on holding the matches in May-June.
   
Jiri Dvorak, Fifa's chief medical officer, set out the "medical concerns related to player safety and fan safety if the FIFA World Cup were to be held between May and September," a FIFA statement said.
   
The tournament is traditionally held in June and July and the decision to give the tournament to Qatar has faced intense criticism because of the searing summer temperatures in the Gulf State.
   
Valcke "highlighted the fact that the month-long period of Ramadan would begin on April 2nd in 2022, which would have an impact on a number of players in their preparations for any April/May option and with regard to the preparation of the event itself," FIFA said.
   
Qatar organizing committee chief Hassan Al Thawadi said that "for the Middle East, the ideal situation and circumstances for an all-inclusive World Cup would be for it to be held in the winter."
   
But he added that Qatar "remained fully committed to delivering what was promised in its bid and organizing the best possible event whatever is decided."
   
Valcke and Fifa executive member Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa will now provide recommendations for the next meeting of the task force in early 2015.
   
Uefa has argued for a tournament in January/February 2022 to minimize disruption to the Champions League.

But that could cause a clash with the Winter Olympics which Fifa leader Sepp Blatter has promised to avoid.
   
European clubs say that a November-December will force them into a costly shutdown when most Champions League games are being played.
   
"We now have a greater understanding of where each of the stakeholders is coming from and we will carefully consider these opinions as we move forward towards defining the international match calendar," said Khalifa.

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FOOTBALL

Trial over 2006 German World Cup corruption opens in Switzerland

Three former German football officials and ex-FIFA Secretary General Urs Linsi went on trial on Monday in Switzerland over suspicions that Germany bought votes to obtain the 2006 World Cup.

Trial over 2006 German World Cup corruption opens in Switzerland
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The three defendants have indicated that they will not be present at the hearing in Bellinzona for a variety of reasons, including fear of travelling because of coronavirus contagion.

Swiss Linsi, 70, former German Football Association (DFB) presidents Wolfgang Niersbach, 69, and Theo Zwanziger, 74, and 78-year-old former DFB General Secretary Horst R. Schmidt are being prosecuted for “fraud”.

They are accused by the Swiss Federal Prosecutor's Office (BA) of concealing from the DFB the true destination of a transfer of 6.7 million euros ($7.6 million today), paid in 2005 by the organising committee to former Adidas boss, the late Robert Louis-Dreyfus, via FIFA.

The case of former World Cup organising committee chairman Franz Beckenbauer is being heard separately because of the former Germany captain's poor health.

The investigation was prompted by a report in German publication Der Spiegel in 2015 that Germany had used a secret fund of 10 million Swiss francs (6.7 million euros at the time) to buy votes and obtain the rights to host the competition at the expense of South Africa.

Beckenbauer is suspected of having asked Louis-Dreyfus, to contribute to this fund shortly before the vote on the host in the summer of 2000.

Louis-Dreyfus was allegedly reimbursed by the German Football Association on the pretext of expenses related to a FIFA gala evening, which ever took place.

Zwanziger, Niersbach and Schmidt have also been charged with tax fraud in Germany and the case is expected to come to trial in the coming months. cpb/pb/td

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