Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and the German Football League (DFL) have backed FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s plans to move the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to the winter.
With temperatures in the Gulf state able to reach up to 50°C during the summer, Blatter confirmed on Wednesday that he will ask FIFA’s executive committee to reschedule the tournament.
World football’s governing body says the issue will go to its executive committee meeting on October 3 and 4 in Zurich, when a final decision on the matter will be taken.
Despite criticism from the Premier League, Blatter has been backed by Rummenigge, who is also the president of the European Club Association.
“No doubt about it, it is good to hear if FIFA agrees on playing the 2022 World Cup during the winter,” Rummenigge is quoted as saying by Express. “A tournament during the summer is not feasible.”
Rummenigge is not concerned about the impact a winter World Cup would have on Europe’s domestic season, and believes an agreement could be reached.
“Of course, you’d then have to come to an understanding about an arrangement for the scheduling of the domestic leagues with the associations, leagues and clubs for that year,” he said.
DFL executive Christian Seifert had opposed the plans back in May, saying: “I'm not sure of the credibility of FIFA. It shows me FIFA, as a body which says what is good for the game, ignores completely those leagues who are effectively the core and the heart of football - not the tournament that comes up every four years.”
However, it appears the DFL has since changed its stance on the matter.
“The league would only welcome a winter World Cup in Qatar,” DFL executive Andreas Rettig said in Express on Thursday.
The German media, though, have questioned the proposals, with Bild running the headline: “Mister Blatter, re-tender the World Cup!”
SZ ran a longer story on Blatter’s sudden change of heart and suggested that he was hoping to secure another presidency by backing the idea of a winter World Cup.
“Blatter’s will reigns,” the headline read, before the article asked: “What will Blatter win from this deal? What made him change his mind? Certainly not the heat shock during his recent trip to the East, he knows Qatar’s climate very well. For a decade, Qatar has backed him massively and discreetly.
“And so all eyes on the big winner in this battle: [UEFA president Michel] Platini, Blatter’s arch-enemy, who would like to follow Blatter onto the FIFA throne in 2015. Should Platini give up on his candidacy during the autumn, the path for Blatter would be cleared until 2019. And Platini would have secured his World Cup in Qatar. The ones who would, however, have to make sacrifices would be football and its millions of fans."