After the comments by Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini and Franz Beckenbauer that the 2022 FIFA World Cup should be played in January instead of June/July, strong support has come from FIFPro, the world footballers’ union which also believes the 2022 World Cup in Qatar should be held in the winter instead of summer.

Summer temperatures hit 50 degrees centigrade in the Gulf and FIFPro has said it is pleased FIFA is open to changing the tournament’s timing to address the issue of heat.

Sepp Blatter, the FIFA President, backed a possible switch to January 2022 and in a statement, FIFPro said it “does not foresee any insurmountable problems in this regard”.

In the vote by the FIFA Executive Committee on 2nd December 2010, Qatar beat Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States to host the World Cup, which is traditionally held in June and July.

Tijs Tummers, the secretary of FIFPro’s Technical Committee, however, questioned the decision to award Qatar the tournament based on it still being held in the summer.

“It is not sensible in a country with an average temperature of 41C in June and July, a midday temperature of 50C and, above all, extremely high humidity,” Tummers said.

“Tourists are advised not to travel to Qatar in the summer months and inhabitants leave the country en masse during this period.

“The summer months in Qatar also do not provide suitable conditions for a festival of football such as the World Cup should be, including for the supporters.”

When Qatar was announced as host, German World Cup-winning captain and coach Franz Beckenbauer voiced concerns about the health risk the heat could pose for players.

However Tummers insisted that by switching the dates the weather concerns could be countered, while players might be in better condition than if the tournament was held in its traditional slot at the end of a gruelling European season.

“Space will have to be made for the tournament, even though many countries already have a winter break,” the secretary of FIFPro’s Technical Committee added.

“In Europe, competitive matches will have to be played in August and the second half of May and the first half of June.”

“And it might, perhaps, turn out that the players will be fitter at the start of a winter World Cup than was the case last summer at the World Cup in South Africa.”

That is the players’ perspective but the top professional clubs in Europe and South America will hardly support a change which will deprive them of income for almost two months.

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