Europe’s leading clubs have suggested rescheduling the 2022 Winter Olympics in order to accommodate the Qatar World Cup.
Amid expectations that the 2022 World Cup will be moved from summer to winter to avoid high temperatures in Qatar, football’s bigger clubs have come up with a proposal which will cause the least disruption to the European calendar.
“[The Games] haven’t been awarded yet,” European Club Association vice-chairman Umberto Gandini told the BBC.
“I don’t see why we should worry about something that is not there yet and if they can also change the dates.”
Sepp Blatter, president of world football’s governing body FIFA, favours the finals be played in either November or December 2022.
However, that would cause huge issues for the European leagues, which would have to close for eight weeks, and the ECA remains unconvinced by that option.
However, Blatter, also an IOC member, has assured the International Olympic Committee that the World Cup will not clash with the 2022 Winter Games, scheduled for February.
Milan director Gandini represents the 200-member ECA on a FIFA panel which is seeking to find an alternative to a summer World Cup, when the temperatures can regularly exceed 40 degrees celsius.
“As a European view, the first reaction was ‘if we have to move it, January/February is the best option’, because it will have a reduced effect on the European game because many of the leagues are on winter breaks; it would make things a a little bit more logical,” he said.
“It’s not impossible for the Winter Olympics to shift over 15 days for example – so if we’re going to find a solution it must be not just for the football world but for the sporting world.”
Among the other events that could be affected is the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
The 2022 Winter Olympics will be held in either Beijing or Almaty after Oslo pulled out of the race to stage the event last week.
Gandini suggested that Europe’s top clubs were concerned that FIFA was desperate to make a quick decision without considering all the consequences.
“If you were at the meeting at FIFA you felt it was a decision,” he continued.
“The impression you have is that ‘solution number one’ is November/December 2022. It was very important that Europe just put their foot in the door and said ‘wait a second, it’s going to be very, very difficult for the European leagues’, so we want to think about that very clearly.”