The twisting tale that is the 2022 World Cup in Qatar’s latest turn comes courtesy of the European Club Association’s newly-detailed desires for the tournament.
While FIFA’s non-release of Michael Garcia’s corruption investigation is just the latest step that assures us the tournament isn’t going anywhere, the world of soccer is working to make the searing temperatures of the Middle East as little an obstacle as possible.
So we’ve already read the proposal for late night start times. Now the ECA is saying they’d be willing to postpone their domestic Cup finals and start their seasons two weeks earlier in order to get an April-May tournament instead of the total disruption of a November-December tournament.
The moves would leave only 10 days prep time for the national teams before the World Cup began, and would also alter the UEFA Champions League schedule.
The ECA proposes condensing the Champions League format to play the round of 16 over two weeks rather than a month, and removing the international double-headers in March. But that could leave up to five months between international competition and the World Cup for nations which qualify.
That proposal also would leave only 10 days between clubs being obliged to release players on April 18 and the World Cup kicking off for teams to squeeze in rest, training and a warm-up game. Before this year’s tournament in Brazil, some teams played three friendlies in the final weeks of preparation.
I, like many of you, have come to terms with the fact that the 2022 World Cup isn’t going anywhere. We don’t have to be happy about it, but FIFA won’t bend on Turfgate. What makes you think they’ll say, “Our bad”, regarding Qatar?