Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Jim Boyce to mediate as Qatar World Cup switch sparks cold war

Winter call: Jim Boyce maintains that the 2022 World Cup cannot be played in the summer and the debate is now which month of that year will it be staged

Jim Boyce says he's ready to intensify his efforts to resolve the 2022 World Cup row.

European countries have given their overall backing to moving the tournament in Qatar to the winter.

Uefa's 54 member associations backed the switch at a meeting in Croatia but now a debate is raging over the exact date for the controversial tournament. Fifa vice-president Boyce hopes the world's most popular sporting event can go ahead at the end of January and February – avoiding the Christmas holiday period.

The world governing body meets in Zurich early next month when a decision could be made in principle to move the competition away from the summer months. Former Irish FA president Boyce (left) said: "What the 54 countries do not want Fifa to do is to make a decision yet on exactly when in the year it is going to be played.

"My own preference would be for the end of January and early February."

Ulsterman Boyce said a task force could be established at the Fifa ExCo in Zurich on October 3/4 to come up with an effective plan causing minimum disruption.

Uefa president Michel Platini (below), the France legend, has also argued that playing in 50-degree temperatures would spoil the World Cup.

Boyce added: "It's very important we get this right."

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