Australia warns FIFA over World Cup 2022 date switch
Cautions against making 'flawed' decision worse by rushing to changes
Australia's leading soccer official has cautioned FIFA against compounding the "flawed" choice for the 2022 World Cup host by rushing decisions about shifting the tournament's dates to avoid Qatar's summer heat.
Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy issued a statement Tuesday urging the sport's global governing body to wait until after an investigation into the World Cup bid process before making any decisions about shifting the event to the northern winter.
If the World Cup is rescheduled, the FFA wants compensation for the domestic leagues that are affected and for the countries that spent millions of dollars on unsuccessful bids based on the northern summer time frame.
Australia was one of the bids that lost out to Qatar in a process that has come under criticism.
"FIFA has an opportunity now to make the best of a bad situation by embarking on a transparent and orderly approach, unlike the process that led to the original flawed decision in December 2010," Lowy said in the statement. "FIFA champions the notion of 'Fair Play' and that principle should apply to the decisions it makes in the coming months."
Lowy said he had written to and raised his concerns with FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who has spoken in favour of the seasonal change — which might put the tournament opposite NFL games on U.S. television. The Qatar bid promoted air-conditioned match arenas, but broadcasters, workers and fans have raised concerns about travelling and operating in the daytime temperatures.