Legal battle against Fifa over Qatar World Cup unlikely, says Premier League chief

Richard Scudamore and counterparts across 'big five' European leagues furious at prospect of 2022 event being shifted from traditional summer slot due to heat.

Richard Scudamore, the Premier League chief executive, says Qatar should not have won the bid to host the Fifa World Cup if football could not be played there during the summer.
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Richard Scudamore, the English Premier League chief executive, has cautioned against the prospect of taking legal action to prevent a winter Fifa World Cup.

Scudamore and his counterparts across the 'big five' European leagues are furious at the prospect of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar being shifted from its traditional summer slot due to the searing temperatures.

It is now becoming generally accepted that although Qatar insist they have adequate facilities available to provide acceptable conditions for both matches and training, the heat will be too extreme to make a summer World Cup viable.

Therefore it looks increasingly likely the tournament will be held in winter, threatening to take two months – including preparation time – out of a normal European season.

To a greater or lesser extent, most countries have a winter break, which will negate some, but by no means all, of the massive alternations.

England clearly does not and Scudamore has been lobbying keenly to try to avoid the winter World Cup becoming reality.

Yet it seems actually taking on Fifa through the courts is not a palatable prospect.

"I wouldn't go there," said Scudamore. "That is far too contentious really; taking on the world governing body.

"We will do our lobbying but it is far too premature to be talking about legal action."

Scudamore's argument is a simple one.

Before Qatar was so controversially awarded the World Cup, beating United States 14-8 in a final round of voting after South Korea, Japan and Australia had been eliminated, an enormous bid document was presented to Fifa's technical committee.

In it, each country had to show how they were going to organise a World Cup in the usual slots in June and July.

"The idea the technical committee did not know people were going to be exposed to that heat is crazy," said Scudamore.

"I have to work on the assumption it was all read, so the issue should have been thrashed out around the discussion table.

"If the Qataris are unable to host a proper World Cup tournament in the summer, they shouldn't have been awarded it. That is my simple view.

"The world has a calendar that is geared around having those two months in the summer to host a World Cup.

"If you can't fulfil the criteria, you should take it somewhere that can."

Scudamore dismissed completely the notion England would offer to step in as hosts.

Indeed, given the poor standing of the English game within Fifa, such an offer would probably make a winter World Cup even more likely to happen.

"Please don't even begin to think there is self-interest behind it," said Scudamore.

"It is a far more a complicated issue than that.

"That is not part of our thinking at all."

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