IOC and FIFA Presidents ‘Won’t Let World Cup and Olympics Clash’Danielle Rossingh
The presidents of the International Olympic Committee and soccer’s world governing body FIFA have made an agreement the 2022 World Cup in Qatar won’t overlap with the Winter Olympics, IOC vice president Craig Reedie said.
FIFA may reschedule the soccer tournament, which is usually held when major European soccer leagues break in June and July, to another date because of stifling summer temperatures. Last month, European soccer official Umberto Gandini suggested the Winter Olympics should make way for a winter World Cup in Qatar in February 2022 because the winter event was less important.
There is an agreement between IOC president Thomas Bach and FIFA president Sepp Blatter “not to have that clash,” Reedie said in an interview with a small group of reporters at the Host City: Bid to Win conference in London today.
“We are restricted in winter sports to doing it when winter sports conditions are absolutely right and that’s February,” Reedie said, when asked if the 2022 Winter Olympics could be held at a different date. “And with a bit of luck, FIFA will be able to work around that.”
The host of the 2022 Games will be decided in July, with Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, as the remaining candidates after Oslo withdrew last month because of a lack of local support.
“The FIFA World Cup is one of the major events in the sporting landscape, with the Summer Olympics,” Gandini, vice chairman of the European Club Association, told a conference on Oct. 8 in London. “The Winter Olympics aren’t there yet, but they’re very important to their sports. But if you are moving such a major event as the World Cup, it should be possible to find a solution and move a little bit the Winter Olympics. With wisdom and debate, it’s possible to come to a solution.”
Reedie today said he “disagreed,” with AC Milan’s Gandini. “You’ve only got to look at the interest in the last Winter Games in Sochi, and the number of hours covered. There is a huge interest in the Winter Games and that will continue.”