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Posted On: 23 May 2013 01:13 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:12 pm

Bundesliga boss attacks Fifa decision to hold 2022 World Cup in Qatar

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The chief executive of the Bundesliga has issued an outspoken attack on Fifa's decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, describing it as "hard, if not impossible" to play the tournament in the Gulf's fierce heat of summer. Speaking in London before Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund contest Saturday's Champions League final at Wembley, Christian Seifert said the Bundesliga and other leagues are "very upset" that they may have to reschedule their domestic competition to allow the World Cup to be played in the winter instead. He said moving the World Cup to winter could leave Fifa open to a legal challenge, because the countries which made bids for 2022 did so on the basis that it would be a summer tournament, and they could ask for a re-vote. "If you make a decision which is so far away from a sporting perspective, if it is so politically driven, it is wrong," Seifert said. "Maybe Fifa should change the claim [on its logo]: this is not 'For the good of the game.'" Recalling the successful World Cup in Germany in 2006, with its teeming fan zones and party atmosphere in public spaces and on the streets, Seifert said: "I am convinced it is hard, if not impossible, to play a World Cup in the summer in Qatar. In Germany it was a special atmosphere, but I doubt that could work in 48 degree heat. Summer in Qatar is not the right time. "The priority is the health of the players, and a decision was made here which ignores the health of the players." Seifert is already considering the implications of the leagues having to move their competitions to accommodate a winter World Cup in 2022, if it remains with Qatar. He said if it is moved to the winter, it would affect three seasons of league football, due to the need to negotiate a TV deal to cover the period. "I am not sure if legally it can be played in the winter; the lawyers will decide in the end if it has to go to a re-vote," Seifert said. "Talking to other leagues, I have the feeling they are very upset the decision was taken, that a four-week tournament will affect three years of leagues. This shows me Fifa as a body deciding what is good for the game, ignoring the day-to-day business of leagues." • This article was amended on 23 May 2013 to amend "the Arabian Gulf" to "the Gulf" to comply with the Guardian's style guide.