A Winter World Cup in 2022?
Just as the outrage of the U.S. losing the World Cup to Qatar seems to be settling down, Sepp Blatter and FIFA decided to open the controversy back up again. In an interview with journalists in Qatar during a visit to the Club World Cup, the FIFA president said that the organization was considering holding the 2022 World Cup during the winter, in response to concerns about the heat during matches. “FIFA’s job is to have a World Cup that protects the players so we take note of the recommendations and go through the list of requirements,” he said.
FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke also addressed the issue, pointing out that holding the World Cup in the winter could help FIFA award the event to countries that previously would be unable to host. Says Valcke: “Why not? It means you open the World Cup to countries where they can never play it in June and July because it’s never the right period of time… it would be a solution to open the organization of the World Cup to a number of countries in this period which is winter in Europe but not winter in the rest of the world.”
So we aren’t going to get the air conditioned stadiums anymore?!?!?
Maybe, but the decision hasn’t been made yet, according to Blatter. FIFA executive committee member Franz Beckenbauer first raised the idea after the 2022 voting, and the idea was seconded by UEFA President Michel Plantini. Qatar has not yet requested the change in season but with the 2022 World Cup twelve years away, there is time to do so.
So if the World Cup were to be moved to January 2022, who would be the biggest winner? MLS
Assuming all major soccer leagues keep their schedules in the next twelve years, Europe and fall-to-spring leagues will have to make major adjustments to their 2021-2023 schedules to accommodate a major international tournament. You can imagine the angst that will cause the leagues, who will have to shift their schedules for months to accommodate their players’ international obligations.
However, MLS has the type of schedule that is perfect for a winter World Cup. As the event is ending, training camps are getting into full swing and national team players (for the U.S. and other countries) can easily integrate themselves into their clubs without missing huge chunks of games, like they do now during the World Cup. There wouldn’t be that awkward period of time where MLS games are overshadowed by televised World Cup games. And if the U.S. national team makes serious progress, the positive vibe and support for the national team could translate into MLS support (although that was not necessarily the case this year).
So as an MLS fan, I fully support the 2022 Winter World Cup! Do you?