European Professional Football Leagues’ position as to the timing of the FIFA World Cup 2022

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FIFA’s Executive Committee awarded in December 2010 the World Cup 2022 to Qatar on the basis that it would take place in the traditional period (June/July). Issues have been raised, however, as to the timing of the World Cup in 2022 considering the weather conditions in Qatar in June/July and suggestions have been made publicly that the international football calendar should be revised.

The Association of the European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) wishes to voice its views on this important issue.

The feasibility of any change to the calendar involves every aspect of football organisation across all countries, from the grass roots to the major national representative tournaments and the leagues. Any suggestion of staging the World Cup at a time other than the traditional period is a crucial issue for the European Leagues considering the impact on the organisation of domestic championships throughout Europe, and of the international football calendar around the world.

The EPFL, representing the entities responsible for the organizations of national championships in Europe, is of the view that no hasty decision shall be made by the FIFA Executive Committee of October 3-4 considering that: 

  • any change to the international calendar must be carefully assessed through a full and proper consultation and decision making process balancing all relevant interests, including all football stakeholders and notably the EPFL; 
  • such an important decision cannot be rushed with artificial deadlines as the concerned FIFA World Cup will take place in 9 years; 
  • if concerns are raised as to the deliverability of the World Cup 2022 at the traditional time for the tournament, a medical assessment in respect of how the climatic conditions during summer in the Middle East would or would not affect players’health and fans’comfort shall be developed and made available, also taking into account the drawbacks of a such rescheduling; 
  • prior to any decision, the side effects on the international calendar of a possible rescheduling should be assessed through an extensive fact-based analysis taking into account some of its components such as: the scheduling of qualifiers in different confederations and the relevant final draw for the final stage of the FIFA 2022 World Cup; the suitable time at the disposal of national teams for their preparation prior to the FIFA 2022 World Cup; the impact on the organisation of other FIFA tournaments; the effects on Confederations’national teams’tournaments and also their clubs competitions; the potential clash with other major international events, for instance the Winter Olympic Games ; 
  • it is also needed from a professional football League’s perspective to assess the relevant commercial/media and legal consequences, including for instance the impact on the transfer system and players’employment/status (including the registrations system as it operates in Europe, and legal obligations to players), as well as the possible effects on the amateur game due to the many linkages that exist professional side of the game, for instance when referring to promotion and relegation system;

The above highlights the complexity and seriousness of this matter and the numerous ramifications that such a decision might have on international, continental and national football.
The EPFL is a constructive force with no prejudice as to the decision which is of the best interest of all stakeholders (FIFA, UEFA, national associations, leagues, clubs, players, fans) and of football in general.

In this context, the EPFL kindly requests FIFA and the members of its Executive Committee that prior to any decision be taken in respect of the international calendar, including as one issue the possible rescheduling of the FIFA World Cup 2022, a thorough assessment is carried out and an appropriate consultation process is promoted with all relevant football stakeholders, including the EPFL.

 

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