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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Europe backs winter World Cup

It's taken three years, but it looks like the football world is coming round to the idea of a winter World Cup in Qatar.

• Qatar determined to host the 2022 World Cup
• Blatter makes 2022 admission

European countries have backed a winter World Cup in 2022, but have called on FIFA to delay any potential decision.

The 54 UEFA associations have said that they are open to the idea of the tournament moving to take place during the middle of the domestic European season.

FIFA’s executive committee are expected to make a decision in principle during a meeting in Zurich on October 3 and 4.

But with nearly ten years until the competition will take place in Qatar, Britain’s FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce has confirmed that UEFA members are keen not to be tied to a definitive date at this early stage. 

He said: "What has come out of this meeting, and what I think is sensible, is an agreement by the UEFA countries that the World Cup cannot be played in Qatar in the summer. Everyone was certainly in agreement about that.

"But what the 54 countries do not want FIFA to do is to make a decision yet on exactly when in the year it is going to be played.

"There is still nine years to go and people feel FIFA should sit down with all the major stakeholders and come up with a solution that would cause the minimum disruption to football.

"There is plenty of time to do that in my opinion, and hopefully football will be the winner."

Future disagreements are foreseen over the potential date before it is finally decided upon.

British associations are keen to protect the domestic Christmas schedule, UEFA favour January due to their Champions League commitments.

Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has told FIFA that moving the 2022 World Cup from the summer must not impact that year’s Winter Olympics.

Rescheduling the tournament to the winter of 2022 would have a direct effect on the Winter Olympics, and the IOC says it will stand in the way of such a move.

An IOC spokesman told Press Association Sport: “We were aware that FIFA might consider changing the dates for the 2022 World Cup. We are confident that FIFA will discuss the dates with us so as to co-ordinate them and avoid any affect on the Winter Games.''

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