Australia warns FIFA over World Cup date switch

Australia to FIFA: don't make 'flawed' decision worse by rushing into 2022 World Cup changes

Associated Press
Australia warns FIFA over World Cup date switch
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FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2010 file photo, Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy arrives for Australia's presentation at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. Lowy has urged FIFA to wait until after an investigation into the 2022 World Cup bid process before making any decisions about shifting the dates for the event to avoid Qatar's searing summer heat. In an FFA statement Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, Lowy says FIFA should "let the independent investigative process run its natural course and then, with those issues settled, make a clear-eyed assessment about rescheduling and its consequences." (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus, File)

SYDNEY (AP) -- Australia's leading soccer official has cautioned FIFA against compounding the "flawed" choice for the 2022 World Cup host by rushing decisions about shifting the tournament's dates to avoid Qatar's summer heat.

Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy issued a statement Tuesday urging the sport's global governing body to wait until after an investigation into the World Cup bid process before making any decisions about shifting the event to the northern winter.

If the World Cup is rescheduled, the FFA wants compensation for the domestic leagues that are affected and for the countries that spent millions of dollars on unsuccessful bids based on the northern summer time frame.

Australia was one of the bids that lost out to Qatar in a process that has come under criticism.

"FIFA has an opportunity now to make the best of a bad situation by embarking on a transparent and orderly approach, unlike the process that led to the original flawed decision in December 2010," Lowy said in the statement. "FIFA champions the notion of 'Fair Play' and that principle should apply to the decisions it makes in the coming months."

Lowy said he had written to and raised his concerns with FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who has spoken in favor of the seasonal change — which might put the tournament opposite NFL games on U.S. television. The Qatar bid promoted air-conditioned match arenas, but broadcasters, workers and fans have raised concerns about traveling and operating in the daytime temperatures.

FIFA's executive committee meets Oct. 3.

"With increasing speculation about a change that will impact on us as one of the bidding nations, and because our competition will be affected, we have made our position public," Lowy said. "If the World Cup were to be staged in the middle of our A-League season it would impact on our competition, not just for 2022, but for the seasons leading up to and beyond that date. Clubs, investors, broadcasters, players and fans would all be affected."

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