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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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By ESPN Staff

Horne in 'cold sweat' over Qatar '22

Football Association general secretary Alex Horne has branded the prospect of the 2022 World Cup being held in the winter a "logistical nightmare''.

• Young English assistant for Capello
• No regular Home internationals

FIFA are exploring the possibility of moving the tournament in Qatar from the summer due to the extreme temperatures in the country at that time of year. That would mean a complete overhaul of the football calendar in England and most other major European countries.

"It's a logistical nightmare,'' said Horne. "Whether it's a good idea or not, I don't know.''

He added: "The notion of playing in Qatar just leaves me in a cold sweat at the moment. It doesn't feel like a great experience for the fans. The whole thing is odd, let me just say that. It will do all sorts of odd things, won't it, because you need to find nine or 10 weeks across the winter. It's going to split the season and you'll need to start early or finish late.''

Qatar were the shock winners of the 2022 bid after seeing off competition from the heavily-fancied Australia and the United States. The outcome angered the losing countries, as did the result of the 2018 bid, which saw England receive just two votes. The FA are keen to learn the lessons from the doomed bid and build better relationships within the corridors of power in Zurich.

But Horne insisted they would not sacrifice the home nations' permanent FIFA vice-presidency in order to curry favour with the game's world governing body. There has long been a sense of resentment from other countries over the special status the British associations enjoy within both FIFA and rulemaking body the International Football Association Board.

Horne said: "There's no view across the FA that that sentiment holds any water, that we should be abandoning the British vice-presidency.''

He added flippantly: "If we don't get goalline technology in March, you might ask me the question again. If that isn't working then perhaps we are wasting our time.''

Horne revealed he would sit down tomorrow with chairman-elect David Bernstein to discuss "how we tackle the international relationship piece''.

He added: "My ambition is calmly to reset our international strategy. What is it we're actually trying to achieve? We can't host the World Cup here until 2030 now in practice and goodness knows if that'll end up being '34, '38 if they change the rules again. We've got to be disappointed that we're arguably the most commercially successful association on the planet etc... and we just don't seem to have the clout that I would expect in either FIFA or UEFA.

"We start building in Europe, we work on our European UEFA representation. Let's work out how to use - if we can - the British vice-presidency going forwards. There's a long-term plan to try to move the right people into position at UEFA, FIFA and resolve some of these process issues from within.

"I would not feel comfortable recommending to the board that we went into another bidding situation where the rules were quite so opaque, and I think there's a number of ways you can make that selection process more transparent, more appropriate. I would hope we can lobby for those changes carefully, appropriately, politically, over the next three to six years.''

A prominent member of FIFA's ethics commission resigned at the weekend in protest over what he perceived to be their lack of determination to stamp out corruption. Horne was diplomatic on the matter, pointing out two members of the organisation's executive committee were suspended last year following allegations of corruption.

He said: "They dealt with the two cases when they were rammed down their throats. Perhaps we all need to be clever about putting these things out more clearly in front of them.''

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