By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger does not think a winter World Cup is viable because it would force a revamp of the global football calendar.

The 2022 tournament was awarded to Qatar last month but that country’s temperatures can top 40C in June and July, when World Cups traditionally take place.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter revealed on Friday that he expects the Qatar showpiece to take place in January 2022. His comments raised plenty of eyebrows, including Wenger’s.

“I think it would be a great idea, just after Boxing Day!” responded the Arsenal manager.

“It looks like an idea that has come out of nowhere because nobody was told that when the bid was voted for. That is a bit of a surprise and certainly it would mean that the whole world of football has to be re-organised.

“As you know we have a Christmas period that is quite busy here and England would be very happy to play the World Cup in January just after that!

“That would demand a complete re-organisation of the whole world’s fixtures and I cannot see that happening. If all the championships are not going from March until November and you re-organise and then the dead [close] season would be in December.”

International football is no stranger to club versus country disputes over scheduling and injuries, and Wenger believes that a winter World Cup would fuel that particular fire.

“Certainly it would create many problems, yes, between clubs and countries and countries and FIFA,” he said.

“It could create a problem between FIFA and England, who have been turned [against them] already [having lost the World Cup bid], and would not be happy to on top of that to be forced to change the complete organisation of their championship.”

However, Wenger does not think that clubs could refuse to release their players for a January tournament.

“That is nearly impossible because the clubs are under the authority of their federations,” he said.

“The Premier League is under the authority of the federation and they in turn are under FIFA. Only the national football federations could do something against that.”

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
7 Jan 2011