In an interview with the BBC the vice-chairman of the European Club Association, Umberto Gandini, suggested that the Winter Olympics could be shifted to accommodate the World Cup.
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With the 2022 World Cup in Qatar still under intense scrutiny as a shift from a summer to winter World Cup (the first time that’s happened in history) is seen as they only viable option due to the extreme heat in the tiny Middle Eastern nation, the impact that would have on domestic leagues in Europe and elsewhere in the world, plus other sporting events, could be massive.
As things stand, a World Cup in January of February 2022 would mean that it would clash with the 2022 Winter Olympics, but Gandini isn’t worried about that. Not yet.
“[The Games] haven’t been awarded yet,” AC Milan director Gandini told the BBC. “I don’t see why we should worry about something that is not there yet and if they can also change the dates.”
Gandini represents the 200 ECA member clubs and is currently on FIFA’s panel looking into the possible dates of hosting the 2022 World Cup, as he stated that hosting the event in November/December would be too tough.
He also went on to give details on when Europe’s top clubs would prefer the tournament in Qatar to take place and urged FIFA to take its time in thinking about if the nation was the correct choice to host the 2022 World Cup, while again reiterating that the 2022 Olympics which will either be in Beijing or Almaty, could be moved.
“As a European view, the first reaction was ‘if we have to move it, January/February is the best option’, because it will have a reduced effect on the European game because many of the leagues are on winter breaks; it would make things a a little bit more logical,” Gandini said. “It’s not impossible for the Winter Olympics to shift over 15 days for example – so if we’re going to find a solution it must be not just for the football world but for the sporting world.”