Winter World Cup will cause terrible damage, says European leagues body

European Professional Football Leagues body says World Cup switch “unacceptable”, backs legal action against FIFA

BARCELONA, SPAIN (MARCH 21, 2015) (REUTERS) – A body which represents soccer leagues in Europe says it would back legal action over holding the 2022 World Cup in November and December, claiming it will severely damage the sport.

This week FIFA confirmed that the tournament in Qatar will take place in the northern hemisphere winter, which will disrupt the European league season.

On Saturday, at its general assembly in Barcelona, the association of European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) described the decision as “terrible”.

“The decision of the Executive Committee of FIFA to move the World Cup from summer to winter for us, the national leagues of Europe, is unacceptable,” EPFL chairman Frederic Thiriez told Reuters after a news conference.

“It is unacceptable. They don’t take into account the protection of the domestic competition. there will be terrible damage to all the domestic competitions in Europe and we don’t understand how such a decision can be taken without taking into account the point of view of the national leagues.”

Thiriez added that he expected legal action to be taken against FIFA.

“I am sure that one, or two or three, or ten leagues perhaps in Europe will introduce legal action against this decision of FIFA and what we decided this morning, the national leagues, is that if they do so, the EPFL will support their claims. this decision was taken this morning,” he said, emphasizing the importance of European soccer on the world game and arguing that 75 percent of players at the World Cup come from European leagues.

The EPFL sent a report to FIFA recommending the tournament was played in May, but the organisation – which was set up in 1997 and represents more than 20 European leagues including the Premier League, La Liga, the Bundesliga and Serie A – says that it has been ignored and wants more talks.