European League keen to be part of FIFA Qatar consultation

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The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) are positive they will be part of FIFA-led negotiations over the possibility of the 2022 Qatar World Cup being held during the winter.

“I am confident that FIFA's process will be transparent, honest and reasonable,” EPFL President Frederic Thiriez told a news conference on Friday.

At a FIFA executive committee meeting earlier this month, the governing body delayed making a decision on changing the dates of the World Cup in Qatar and set up a consultation process to decide when the tournament should be held.

“And we thank FIFA for this,” said Frenchman Thiriez, who has been appointed president of the EPFL for three years.

“We did not want FIFA to make a series of hasty decisions. Because it could have an impact on our national leagues but also on amateur football, which is, let's not forget this, our reservoir of players and fans.

“There are also possible consequences for the TV (companies) who are our partners. You don't take that kind of decision without weighing the consequences. The World Cup is in 2022, we are in 2013, there is no rush.”

FIFA has set up the consultation process after concerns were expressed about Qatar's fierce heat during the World Cup's traditional June-July slot.

Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup at the expense of rival bids from the United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

It was, however, a debatable choice, EPFL vice-president Frank Rutten said.

“What strikes us a bit is that some people act surprised that it's warm in the summer in Qatar while in fact everybody making the decision knew that at the time (they voted),” he told the news conference.

“A lot of us have the feeling that the rules have been changed while the match had already started. It is a bit strange if you decide afterwards a new criteria for something that's already been decided.”