What’s the story
FIFA President Gianni Infantino paid a visit to Qatar to track the progress of the preparations ahead of the 2022 World Cup scheduled to held in the Middle Eastern Kingdom. While there, he also addressed a key issue – the matter of compensation to European clubs for interrupting their regular domestic seasons.
As per reports, the full cost to FIFA for meeting the demands of the clubs could rise to a whopping €1 billion – a figure that would also include massive insurance cover for the participating players.
In case you didn’t know
Led by the Premier League and La Liga, the European Club Association (ECA) had lodged an appeal with the supreme judicial authority in sports – the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) opposing the proposed winter schedule of the games and appealing for a rescheduling to May 5-June 4, 2022. These dates were proposed keeping in mind that there was no way football’s gala extravaganza could be conducted in the traditional period of June-July considering the scorching Middle Eastern summer peaks in those two months.
The heart of the matter
The problem arose when Qatar’s authorities rejected the proposed dates of the ECA on the basis that it would clash with the traditional dates for Ramadan and Id-ul-Fitr. Considering all this, and after months of negotiations, FIFA had decided upon the final dates – November 21 to December 18, 2022, where all the factors in Qatar are favourable for hosting the World Cup.
UEFA, too, had supported this stance and asked for the rescheduling of the domestic leagues stating that – “For the benefit of the players and the fans, Uefa believes the World Cup should be played in November”
ECA, though, have been adamant and continue to maintain their position that the Winter World Cup “will cause great disruption and considerable damage to the normal functioning of European competitions”
It is in this background that FIFA have come up with the figure for compensation.
Since ECA do not have the backing of UEFA, nor the support of CAS, it is a guarantee that the World Cup will go ahead as per the FIFA Schedule. The payout proposed by the world’s governing body, however, will be the next bone of contention with the various leagues, and indeed clubs within, struggling to ensure that they get their fair share of the pie.
We will keep you up-to-date with the developments of what promises to be a great soap opera as and when they break.
There can be no question of endangering the lives of players by asking them to play the World Cup in summer in that intolerable 50 degrees Celsius (+) heat nor is it fair to ask Qatar to host the tournament during their most important religious period. And while the pain that each club will face is well understood, there can be no question of prioritising club football over the World Cup – which is rightly still known as the zenith of football.
Keeping this in mind, it is up to ECA to negotiate with FIFA and ensure that the flush governing body of world football compensates them appropriately for the financial losses they are set to incur.