DOHA, Feb 26 — FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said Wednesday that having the World Cup 2022 held in winter won’t destroy football, in reference to Africa Cup’s changing their date competition on that same year.
“It’s happening once, we’re not destroying football,” Valcke noted here.
In a joint press conference with Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy Hassan Al-Thawadi, Valcke made his remarks, adding “everyone has made concessions,” noting that the Confederation of African Football (CAF) will change the date of its competition for the Qatar World Cup.
Meanwhile, Al-Thawadi affirmed Qatar’s commitment to all its responsibilities towards an ideal organization of the World Cup and its readiness to host the event at any time the FIFA decides.
Underlining the World Cup as a good catalyst for the change, Al-Thawadi said the Qatari government has issued many pledges such as replacing the sponsorship system with a new one based on contracts, in addition to other human rights-related legislations.
Valcke also rejected the concept of offering compensation to clubs, saying that there is an agreement since 2010 between FIFA and European clubs and seven years are enough to prepare the scene for the World Cup.
FIFA chief also noted that the committee’s meeting was very productive and he was happy with the work done by the organizing committee, particularly with regard to the first master plan of the hosting country, pointing out that FIFA will provide assistance to Qatar to reach suitable solutions for its conditions and provide ideal circumstances for the teams and players.
He expected the tournament to be a wonderful event thanks to Qatar’s capacities on the ground, noting that Qatar’s standards for hosting the World Cup are level with those set by FIFA.
Valcke said World Cup 2022 will be a special tournament because it will be held in the Middle East for the first time, adding that staging it in Qatar is a plus because the organization will be easier and will save effort of transferring participant teams between cities, which will give them more rest and concentration.
The FIFA Secretary General said the football governing body learns from lessons of past tournaments and uses the World Cup to change the reality of several countries, noting that the facilities of World Cup 2022 will not only be stadia but also infrastructure that will benefit the community.
He revealed that FIFA is contemplating reducing the tournament’s period from 32 to 28 days, but said the issue will not be determined until the FIFA executive committee makes a decision next month on the date of the World Cup, noting that the FIFA task-force has recommended holding the tournament from the end of November to the end of December but hasn’t chosen certain dates as some reports claimed.
Valcke expressed pleasure at visiting the construction site of Al-Wakra Stadium, as well as the workers’ housing, saying that progress has been made in the standards of workers rights in all World Cup-related projects.