UEFA chiefs back winter World Cup in 2022

Updated 22 September 2013
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UEFA chiefs back winter World Cup in 2022

DUBROVNIK, Croatia: The 54 member federations of European governing body UEFA are unanimously in favor “in principle” of moving the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to a different time of the year, UEFA president Michel Platini confirmed on Friday.
The tournament, which is usually held in June and July, would run into scorching temperatures in Qatar and governing officials, including Platini and world governing boss Sepp Blatter, have entertained the idea of switching the tournament to what would be the European winter season.
“Concerning the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, there are two things. First the FIFA president (Blatter) will speak about 2022 at the next FIFA executive committee meetings (Oct. 3 and 4 at Zurich).
“Also, the European federations have declared unanimously to be in agreement on the principle that they are not against playing the 2022 World Cup in winter, I said in principle, full stop.” added the Frenchman at the ongoing UEFA meeting in Croatia.
“We do not know what will happen with the executive committee of FIFA, so it is difficult to say, I would say that the ball is at the feet of the president of FIFA.” he added.
On Thursday, FIFA Vice-President Jim Boyce revealed that UEFA supported a move to winter and there was still plenty of time for all parties to agree.
Northern Irishman Boyce said that UEFA’s members want world governing body FIFA to speak to the game’s main stakeholders over when exactly the tournament should take place before announcing any alternative dates.
“What has come out of this meeting is an agreement by the UEFA countries that the World Cup cannot be played in Qatar in the summer. Everyone agreed on that,” Boyce told Sky Sports News.
“But we don’t want FIFA to make a decision yet about when exactly it will be played. We still have nine years to go and we think FIFA needs to help find a solution that will not cause too much disruption.
“There is plenty of time to do that.”
Qatar was awarded the right to host the 2022 tournament in 2010, but FIFA, UEFA and footballers’ union FIFPro have since called for it to be moved to a different time of year.
Mid-year temperatures in the Gulf can reach a sweltering 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), whereas the average highest temperature in winter is a markedly cooler 24 degrees Celsius.
However, proposals to change the date of the tournament have met with opposition from leading European clubs, who are concerned about disruption to their traditional calendars.
The chief executive of the money-spinning English Premier League, Richard Scudamore, has described the plans as “nigh-on impossible.”


Al-Ittihad new boy Matthew Jurman eyes successful start against Al-Hilal in London

Updated 50 min 36 sec ago
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Al-Ittihad new boy Matthew Jurman eyes successful start against Al-Hilal in London

  • The Kingdom’s two most successful clubs go head-to-head at Queens Park Rangers’ Loftus Road stadium
  • Matthew Jurman: I didn’t expect to play my first game for my new club in London and it is a big occasion, a final

LONDON: New signing Matthew Jurman is excited about the prospect of launching his Al-Ittihad career against Al-Hilal in the Saudi Super Cup in London today.
The Kingdom’s two most successful clubs will go head-to-head at Queens Park Rangers’ Loftus Road stadium with last season’s league winners and the King’s Cup holders doing battle for the first piece of silverware of the season.
Jurman only arrived this summer on a two-year deal from South Korean side Suwon Samsung Bluewings, and a game against Al-Hilal represents quite the baptism for the Australia international defender.
“I didn’t expect to play my first game for my new club in London and it is a big occasion, a final,”
Jurman, 28, said.
“It doesn’t get any bigger than that for a first game and I am looking forward to it and hope to get the right result.”
In a bid to improve on last season’s ninth-place finish, Al-Ittihad have been very active in the transfer market this summer, bringing in Jurman, Serbia international striker Aleksandar Pesic, Brazilian left-back Thiago Carleto, Moroccan international midfielder Karim El-Ahmadi and Saudi Arabia internationals Hassan Muath Fallatah and Abdullah Al-Shammari. They could all be given their debut in the UK by new coach Ramon Diaz in front of what is expected to be a bumper crowd. Nearly 17,000 fans attended the last staging of the match in London in 2016.
“There are quite a few new foreigners in the team who are excited about our fans and a lot of players who have been here for years who have told me about the fans and the atmosphere at home,” said Jurman. “I am looking forward to meeting them. I heard that the crowd is almost sold out in QPR’s stadium and we just want to start the season off with a win. It would be the perfect way to kick off.”
Al-Hilal won the league last season, pipping Al-Ahli by a point on the final day, but they failed to get the better of Al-Ittihad, drawing both games 1-1. However, the champions have signalled their intent to make the title a one-horse race this season with some headline-grabbing moves in the transfer market.
They raided Olympiacos for their captain Alberto Botia, signed Andre Carrillo who played in the Premier League last season and convinced Jorge Jesus to end a trophy-laden spell in Portugal — he won the league three times with Benfica and won six domestic cups — and become their new high-profile coach. And then, just to top things off, they paid the second highest ever loan fee in world football to sign Omar Abdulrahman, the darling of Middle Eastern football, from Al-Ain. They have also got Salem Al-Dawsari back after a six-month loan spell in Spain. The Riyadh giants will take some stopping this season and Al-Ittihad will have their work cut out in London today.
“We know that Al-Hilal are a good team and the champions, but have also made some big signings since then,” said Jurman.
“We respect them and are ready for a tough game but are confident that we can go out there and play the way the coach wants us to play and get the right result.”
The match will mark a club debut for Abdulrahman, the UAE international playmaker who was born in Riyadh and who was on the books of Al-Hilal as a teenager before being recruited by Al-Ain. Al-Ittihad will need to pay special attention to him, but not at the expense of overlooking the threat posed by Omar Khribin, Carlos Eduardo and Carrillo.
“Omar is a dangerous player, we all know that, but he is one of many and we are not going to be focused on him alone,” said Jurman. “I have played against him in the past in an Under-23 game and could see what a good player he was. I won’t be marking him specifically but we all know how dangerous he is and will be watching him closely. That is the same with all the players.”