THE BLOG

A Winter World Cup Would Wreak Havoc on the Football Calendar

11/06/2013 09:37 BST | Updated 11/08/2013 10:12 BST

So incensed were numerous nations at the last World Cup bid announcement even Fifa president Sepp Blatter has promised two tournament hosts will not be simultaneously announced again.

As the snow ground Britain to an apocalyptic halt in December 2010, there was cautious optimism England would be announced as the host nation for the 2018 World Cup.

Ultimately, Russia, with its inherent racism and flippant attitude towards said issue, was chosen ahead of a nation prepared for putting on another sporting show six years after the Olympics. However that particular issue has been dwarfed by the shock choice of Qatar as 2022 hosts.

At the time, the outrage was bubbling and in the last two-and-a-half-years the matter has become so frenzied it is more than a mere storm in a teacup.

There is absolutely no logic behind the choice of Qatar. Although some might suggest its human rights record, homophobia and general backward nature makes it logical for an organisation as unscrupulous and damaged as Fifa.

The aforementioned gripes make the weather seem inconsequential, but while the world's best players are unlikely to be affected by the ethics of Qatar, they could wilt in the heat.

Naturally, Fifa have implored the Qatari FA to schedule the 2022 World Cup for a winter slot, so the players will not be drained by the unfeasible heat.

Why the risible Blatter now objects to a June/July time slot when it was part of the Qataris' bid is appropriately contradictory of the senile Swiss. He expected it to be held in winter a month after Qatar received their good news.

Temperatures can hit 50ºc in the summer in Qatar, which is nigh on unplayable for players who have struggled in temperatures nearly twice that amount. David Beckham complained about the humidity after England's laborious opening win against Paraguay at the 2006 World Cup.

Yet a winter tournament would wreak havoc to the European football calendar and, for the majority, that is non-negotiable.

Hypothetically, should a winter World Cup take place in November/December 2022, the Premier League would have to either stop around October and resume in January or February.

The awful alternative is that the season would begin after the World Cup, depriving supporters of watching their club for two-thirds of a year.

However much followers may enjoy watching international football the club equivalent is the bread and butter for the vast majority.

For English supporters, in particular, December football is one of the sporting highlights of the calendar year. The sheer quantity of games feel like additional Christmas gifts, while the pitches are poor and the weather is woeful in what is a testing barometer of a squad's resilience and determination.

The other major European leagues, meanwhile, enjoy winter breaks at this stage and altering their physical schedule to perform throughout December and January could prove problematic.

Summers are tracked by sport, mainly World Cups, and fans will not gather in Trafalgar Square or European plazas to watch World Cup matches on giant-screen televisions in freezing conditions. Fifa's proposal deserves a cold reception.