Guest Blog: Tom Mellor – Why the UK Should Say No To A Winter World Cup in 2022.

Hi I’m Tom Mellor. I am volunteering at John Leech MP’s office for the next few months. Part of my training is to write a blog on something I feel strongly about. Here is my guest blog about the 2022 World Cup finals.

Three years ago FIFA’s decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was met with a mixture of surprise and curiosity. The oil rich Middle Eastern nation is not renowned for its sporting history and serious concerns were raised over the practicality of playing a football tournament in the middle of summer in a desert nation.

Qatar officials were quick to dismiss these fears promising fully air conditioned stadiums and “cloud creating” technology which would ensure the World Cup would go ahead safely. Now just three years later FIFA officials are giving serious consideration to switching the 2022 World Cup to the winter making a mockery out of the entire bidding process.

At the start of October John Leech called for a switch in hosts if a Qatar would be unable to deliver a summer World Cup. I couldn’t agree more.

When Qatar bid for the 2022 World Cup they were competing against the USA, Japan and Turkey to deliver a summer World Cup. Now that there bid has been accepted they should deliver what was promised. If they can’t do that then they cannot host the tournament and the UK government should join John Leech in that very clear.

Claims over mistreatment of migrant workers building the un-air conditioned stadium raise further questions over Qatar’s eligibility to host such a prestigious tournament, all the more reason for the UK to put pressure on FIFA to explain their decision.

There are additional reasons a winter world cup would not be feasible. The FA has suggested a winter world cup would create “at least three years” of disruption with the league having to adjust its schedule well in advance to accommodate a winter world cup. This would also affect player’s contracts and the transfer window, if that is still in place by then.

There is also the question as to whether the winter World Cup would be held in January 2022, clashing with the Winter Olympics and disrupting the 21/22 football season, or November/December 2022, disrupting the 22/23 football season. Such uncertainty is bad for fans and teams alike and FIFA has created a huge problem for itself by entertaining the idea of a Winter World Cup.

I hope for the fans sake that FIFA, the FA and all the relevant bodies reject a winter world cup. In the meantime the UK should take the lead in putting pressure on FIFA to ensure common sense wins the day and World Cup 2022 takes place in the summer where it belongs.

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