LONDON – European Club Association chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (pix) declared on Wednesday that European clubs will not foot the bill if the 2022 World Cup is moved to a different time of year.
A FIFA taskforce is currently studying the feasibility of moving the tournament in Qatar to the European winter due to fears about scorching summer temperatures in the Gulf state.
Such a move would cause significant disruption for European domestic leagues such as the Premier League and the Bundesliga, and Rummenigge is concerned that his organisation’s 204 member clubs would pay the price.
“If now there is a strong wish (to move the 2022 World Cup) from various stakeholders like FIFA, UEFA, FIFPro and so on, we are ready to discuss, but under one condition: that there is no damage for club football,” he told the Leaders Sport Business Summit at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium in London.
“Because if we have a change from summer to November or to January, then they will be affecting our business, our calendar. And the bill at the end can’t be paid by the clubs. We are not ready to pay such a bill.
“It has to be clear to FIFA and everybody who is now strongly involved in wishing to change the date that they need the goodwill of the clubs, otherwise we are not ready to talk and discuss about it.”
Rummenigge also believes that Qatar could only be stripped of the tournament if American attorney Michael Garcia’s recently completed report into corruption allegations surrounding the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups finds evidence of wrongdoing.
“If the Garcia report is clean, it wouldn’t be fair,” the Bayern Munich chairman added.
“It’s a decision that has to be respected by the football family.”
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said that the findings of Garcia’s report will not be made public in order to honour promises made to witnesses. â€“ AFP