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Thursday Kickoff: Blatter wants winter World Cup; Olimpia takes lead in Libertadores final; and more

SeppBlatter2011 (Getty)


With the backing of FIFA, the World Cup could be facing a revolutionary change.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has confirmed that he will recommend moving the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to the winter when he meets with the FIFA Executive Committee in October. Despite knowing that temperatures can soar as high as 122 degrees Fahrenheit, FIFA awarded Qatar the World Cup back in 2010.

“If this World Cup is to become a party for the people, you can’t play football in the summer,” Blatter said to the AP. “You can cool down the stadiums but you can’t cool down the whole country.”

Moving the World Cup to winter would have it’s complications, namely the restructuring of the league and continental tournaments in European leagues. The heads English Premier League have reportedly said they will oppose a winter World Cup.

The Executive Committee will meet on October 3 and 4 in Zurich, Switzerland. Ultimately, a switch to a winter World Cup will have to come from the local organizing committee in Qatar.

Here are some more stories to get your Thursday started:


Olimpia are just 90 minutes away from achieving South American glory.

The Paraguayan club, with the hopes of a nation behind them, took a 2-0 aggregate lead in the Copa Libertadores final after winning the first-leg match on Wednesday over Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro in Asuncion, Paraguay.

Alejandro Silva opened the scoring for Olimpia with a shot from the top of the box that dinked in off the post, igniting a wild celebration from the crowd and saw Silva yellow carded for removing his shirt. Adding to Atletico’s misery was a poor performance from Ronaldinho, who was substituted after just 65 minutes, and Richarlyson, who was sent off for a second yellow card in the 90th minute.

In the 5th minute of stoppage time, Wilson Pittoni scored a wonderful curling free kick for Olimpia to double the advantage over the Brazilian side. Olimpia last won the Copa Libertadores in 2002, which was their third ever title. Atletico have never won the Copa Libertadores.


Turkish club Fenerbahce say they will take part in this coming edition of the UEFA Champions League after all.

The club’s president, Aziz Yildrim, has announced on the club’s official Youtube channel that the Court of Arbitration of Sport have blocked UEFA’s decision to ban Fenerbahce over match fixing. Fenerbahce is alleged to have fixed matches in the 2010-2011 season, with the club having been banned from European play in 2011-2012 by their own federation, and Yildirim having been sentenced to jail for the offenses. He is currently appealing the decision.

Fenerbahce were set to take part in the third round of qualifying in this year’s Champions League, set to begin on July 30/31. At the moment, Bursaspor have been entered in the competition instead.


Corinthians have won the South American Supercup (Recopa Sudamericana) over Copa Sudamericana champion Sao Paulo with an aggregate score of 4-1. (REPORT)

Fiorentina forward Stevan Jovetic is set to complete a transfer to Manchester City. (REPORT)

Arsenal wingback Andre Santos could be set for another loan move to Brazil, with Flamengo the team rumored for Santos’ services. (REPORT)

Atletico Nacional has won the Colombian Primera Division with a 2-0 victory over Independiente Santa Fe. (REPORT)

The Bahrain Football Association is interested in appointing former Werder Bremen manager Thomas Schaaf to be the head coach of the Bahrain National Team. (REPORT)

Former Chelsea winger Florent Malouda has joined Turkish side Trabzonspor on a free transfer. (REPORT)


What do you think of these reports? Do you see Qatar staging a winter World Cup? Do you believe Olimpia can win the second leg? Do you agree with the CAS’ decision?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Mr Blatter, as you said, it is certainly possible to cool a stadium, then why there is a need to change to winter? Remember that the football is played inside the stadium not in open area outside the stadium. Then why there should be a change?
    If football, as you share, has to be played in the best period, then play in July and June in Europe, USA or Asia. Remember that many people, like Platini, have said that the the best time to play football in Europe is June/July.
    Moreover, if you think that you need a party in Qatar, think again. Most fans around the world hate this location. So, whether summer or winter, many fans will boycott this event. Just leave the very rich to party in their “floating hotels” as the Qatar organizing officials proposed to build.

  2. In addition to Blatter not picking the World Cup host, rumor has it that he was ticked that the Executive Committee made such a bad decision. He has looked the other way with corruption for almost two decades but he’s not foolish enough to mess with the World Cup. There is no corrupt goody bags or VVIP treatment for FIFA executives without a highly profitable and prestigious World Cup. He gets that.

    I actually think he made these statements with the hope that it starts a chain reaction going that would remove the World Cup to a more profitable country. He gets that selling tickets to games in Qatar would be very difficult and that Qatar simply doesn’t have enough transportation infrastructure or hotel beds to accomodate fans. He fears that the World Cup would be degraded in prestige.

    Perhaps his statements are meant to agitate the rich clubs that play a fall-winter-spring schedule. Make them do the hard work of lobbying to change the venue so he doesn’t have to. After all, he’s thinking of running again because he’s addicted to getting the VVIP lifestyle everywhere he goes. He’ll need every vote he can get and he can’t afford to upset any member FA’s, including Qatar’s and those who were once bought, sold, and paid for by Mohammed bin Hammam.

    If he can get the big European clubs to work on getting the venue changed, he can kill two bird with one stone by getting the venue changed like he privately wants AND putting up a front to the middle eastern FA’s that he was the good guy who tried to make Qatar 2022 work so they vote for him next election.

  3. A couple of years ago, neither Blatter nor anyone else in FIFA apparently had any issues with playing soccer in Qatar in the summer. All of a sudden, Blatter is convinced that “you can’t play football in the summer” in Qatar. I guess it’s the climate change (formerly known as global warming) that made playing football there impossible in the summer. Three years ago, Qatar’s summer temperatures must’ve been pleasant 70s.

  4. I know these kinds of conversations are only comforting to the ones who are speaking, but I can’t help but express my frustration (again and again) over this WC 2022 fiasco. Look, Qatar made a bid for a tournament almost a decade away and it has already become clear that their bid was fraudulent. I seen no reason why the rest of the world has to bend at the will of those who “won” the 2022 bid through corruption and empty, unfullfillable promises. The US could host this baby tomorrow. So could China. I think Australia would be a terrific host nation. Qatar is a fraud.

    • I’m not sure about China because of some issues that they have regarding moving people place to place (the Olympics were only in one city). The US on the other hand has the sports, travel, and security apparatus to host a WC or Olympics tomorrow. Not to mention the most valuable marketing and revenue possibilities but hey this is FIFA so merit has no say.

  5. this is such a BS situtation. there is no way it happens. the new soccer satellite radio channel broadcasts morning shows from England and today they were talking about the EPL already saying they will reject this recommendation (as Ives pointed out) and good luck to FIFA if they think this will fly. they also said other leagues could follow the EPL and most likely will.

  6. If a global company such as BMW were to decide to award a contract to a supplier knowing in advance that the product they were going to receive was defective and then try to force a change to make their customers happy heads would roll. This is in essence what has happend with FIFA and the WC. You can’t convince me that they didn’t do their due dilligence about the summer heat and had no worries about it. This is a farce that will go down in history as one of the biggest blunders in sports history.

  7. didn’t FIFA a$$ure the world when they awarded the Cup to Qatar that this wouldn’t happen? air conditioned this and air conditioned that, it will be fine, technology will save the day, etc.?

  8. didn’t FIFA assure the world when they awarded the Cup to Qatar that this wouldn’t happen? air conditioned this and air conditioned that, it will be fine, technology will save the day, etc.?

  9. This guy has absolutely no shame. He tries to justify an utterly indefensible selection, and then “realizes” that it might, it just might, not be a good idea to stage the biggest tournament in the world in life-threatening temperatures, and proposes to change the rules after the fact. He is the poster boy for corruption and unchecked arrogance.

  10. I have no qualms about the World Cup being hosted around the world or in new places in theory, but it has to be practical. To re-work the entire tournament, which in my opinion only serves to cheapen it, just to force it in Qatar is ridiculous.
    FIFA already broke every rule they hold for potential hosts by shoehorning the tournament in Qatar.
    I have a feeling this whole debate and subsequent outrage will be pointless in a few years anyway, we have to remember that Blatter is already 77 years old, and by 2022 will be 86. How much longer will he realistically serve as the head executive of FIFA? You’d have to imagine when he leaves office, younger blood with their own agendas will re-visit this impractical World Cup host.
    Leaving the politics of FIFA aside, we also have true power brokers in FIFA, ie sponsors, TV companies, and Big 5/6 leagues who I could only imagine having their own issues with this World Cup and when push comes to shove they will quietly ensure their needs will be met – which I can’t imagine will be served by hosting a winter World Cup in Qatar.

  11. I don’t get all the fuss – after all, Seppy only wants a ‘party for the people’! Of course, women & gays aren’t likely to be on the guest list, but hey, ya win some ya lose some!

  12. FIFA over the last 20 years has often used the excuse of trying to grow the game outside of the big soccer nations in selecting World Cup hosts. I believe they have done reasonably well in that regards starting with the USA in 94, Korea/Japan in 2002, and South Africa in 2010. All these countries offered a large diverse population to grow the game. The USA has an approximate population of 316 million. Japan and South Korea have a combined population of 176 million. South Africa has a population of 52 million. What does Qatar offer? Qatar’s population is 1.69 million with Qatar Nationals making up 15% of the population. Plus Qatar has a smaller geographical size that Connecticut!

    How does this grow the game of soccer – other than fattening the wallets of the FIFA execs who voted in favor of it? Now FIFA wants to make a radical change to shift the World Cup to the winter because it’s too hot in the desert in the summer. Who would have guessed that? Oh, wait, they are building air conditioned stadiums that can be dismantled after the World Cup and sold to countries in need of sports infrastructure. Awesome!

  13. When the FA’s of England, Germany, Italy, and Spain ban together to shoot this stupid idea down we will hopefully see the final nail in Sepp & Team’s coffin. Only a united front from the top leagues will put an end to this crap.
    This will either force FIFA/Qatar to abandon the idea, resign to having the worst attended WC in history, or have the tournament played elseware. My hope is that it’s played in Australia.

      • Australia wouldn’t be a bad choice. I actually expected them to get it as they are in the “Asian” conference now.

      • I’m with him. Let the US have 2026 for the 250th birthday of America. Could even try to get the final to be scheduled on the 4th of July.

  14. Typical FIFA, corruption has them make a stupid decision like playing a WC in Qatar, and then being forced to live with the situation trying to change the rules purely for their own benefit (blatter has to spend the whole world cup in the host country and it’s too hot for him).

    the European federation will never get behind this as disrupting their leagues and the champions league will cost them too much money and we all know Europe runs the show when it comes to the WC.

  15. What’s next? Blatter will want to award Qatar a quarter-final berth, because.

    we’ll see if European confederations and clubs will have the balls to resist this and potentially boycott… I cannot envision how the large clubs would support this at all- well, unless they were owned by Qatari sheiks

  16. Well, by 2022, MLS will be the best league in the world and the best players will be over here. Winter = MLS Off-season. I guess it’ll work out A-OK.

      • To be fair, Project 2010’s goal was to be a serious contender to win. Still came up pretty short.

      • I don’t think the project was a failure, the MLS was established and is financially viable, the USMNT went from being happy to making the World Cup to expecting to get out of our group. Sure we aren’t contenders, but I think the USSF has to be happy with our progress.

      • Actually, after thinking about it some more, I think I agree with you.

        Perhaps, given our history of having Good World Cup followed by Terrible World Cup, one could argue that Project 2010 will have been a success if we do well in Brazil?

      • Maybe my count is off, and perhaps it feels skewed because of watching the B team play in the Gold Cup, but I think project 2010 was a success even if it didn’t produce results in 2010 itself (which is always the peril when you put a 12 year timeline on a “talent development” project).

        The way I see it is that MLS is doing a better job than ever developing young talent and getting the best players away from the college ranks early (Gen Addidas helps that). There are more MLS or former MLS now moved to Europe players on the USMNT than I remember in quite some time. 10-15 years ago if we had relied so heavily on MLS players I am not sure we would have even qualified. Maybe my recollection is skewed after numerous USMNT coaches singing the praises of playing in Europe (and there is benefit, don’t get me wrong … much bigger pond and deeper talent pool) and complaining about the quality of MLS.

        After the debacle in France (coming on the heels of a relative HOME success in 1994 which happened due to an own goal and the tragic demise of Andres Escobar) I think we have actually come a long way from those days. Yes, Korea/Japan was a great success which I think surprised a lot of us and set the expectations bar pretty high as to what 2010 success really meant (meeting or exceeding that, meaning threatening semifinals or better).

        I think if we can match 2002 in Brazil then we will be a successful team (whether that would be attributable to P2010, a cycle of players, coaching, increasing popularity of the game in the US, whathaveyou … or some combination of all of them – most likely, I cannot say).

    • When is someone going storm the FIFA castle?

      Amazing that the world powers, both futbol and politically, put up with this crap when there is so, soo, much money involved.

      I have friends who are fans of college athletics who complain about the NCAA. I tell them, you ain’t seen nothing until you read about the crap that FIFA gets away with.

  17. Good idea Sepp, of course, if the selection committee hadn’t been bribed into letting a desert nation with less than two million people host the Cup in the first place, it wouldn’t be necessary to disrupt almost every major league and tournament on the planet.

    But I guess bringing the game to those two million people is way more important than the other 3 billion that love the game.

  18. Let’s disrupt the whole football world so that Qatar can have a world cup that will make half the money that the cup in the USA would make – – FIFA logic!

    • I generally agree with your premise in the sense that at current levels of technology it was silly to award Qatar a World Cup that would likely be staged in the summer. That was some amount of corruption and politics to get that result.

      But unless they take back what they gave, a winter World Cup is the practical solution. A chunk of the world takes that time off anyway, either for winter cold or Southern summer heat, and people just need to deal. If they’re willing to push it forward in spring for summer cups then they can open a gap in winter this once. The world will continue rotating.

      • I understand the sentiment – but one needs to keep in mind by drastically altering the ‘rules’ of when the tournament is held it can cheapen the tournament all together. Once that precedent is set, the tournament will become an ever-changing, self-serving tool, instead of the ultimate celebration of the sport. Also, it can become the final piece of ammo needed for the big clubs/leagues to wrestle true control from FIFA and finally relegate international soccer.
        I, along with millions of football fans, adore the World Cup, and in my opinion by playing ‘fast and loose’ with the game’s ultimate stage, FIFA is cheapening tournament and surrendering leverage to the megaclubs for short-term gains.

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