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European Soccer Leagues Say 2022 World Cup Switch to Hurt Teams

May 9 (Bloomberg) -- An organization representing the top European soccer leagues said all proposals to reschedule the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to avoid high temperatures would damage their seasons.

After Qatar won the right to host in 2010, players and officials expressed concern about the country’s ability to hold the games during the usual period in June and July.

Temperatures can rise above 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) in Qatar during the summer, threatening the health of teams and supporters. Soccer’s governing body, FIFA, has said it may move the tournament to the cooler months of the year. Last year, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said the months of November and December would work best.

The European Professional Football Leagues, an organization of more than 20 divisions including England’s Premier League and Spain’s La Liga, warned yesterday that moving the event would cut into their operations.

The group “has come to the conclusion that all scenarios on the re-scheduling of the World Cup in Qatar are damaging the domestic competitions and leagues’ business interests,” the organization said. “The EPFL will discuss these issues within the consultation process led by FIFA which shall take place after the World Cup in Brazil.”

In March, the European Club Association, which represents the region’s top teams, said it would meet with FIFA officials to discuss any possible moves in September and November. Blatter said he wants to wait until the end of this year’s World Cup in Brazil before discussing any changes to Qatar. The tournament ends July 13.

Date Changes?

A date change could set up conflict with England’s Premier League and other European championships, forcing them to rearrange their schedules. Broadcasters, including Fox Sports in the U.S., have complained about rescheduling because games might conflict with other sports.

FIFA executives picked Qatar as host ahead of Australia, Japan, South Korea and the U.S., even after an evaluation report by the soccer authority’s own officials that said it was a “potential health risk” for players and fans for matches to be held there in June and July.

Qatar organizers say temperatures could be mitigated by air conditioning systems in stadiums, although they are open to changing the dates.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Elser in London at celser@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net Peter-Joseph Hegarty

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