SYDNEY, (Reuters) – Australia’s soccer chief Frank Lowy has warned FIFA not to rush a decision on switching the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to the northern hemisphere winter and said other bidders should be compensated if the move goes ahead.
In a further sign of the complications a change could bring, U.S. broadcaster Fox said it had assumed the tournament would be held in its regular June-July slot when it outbid rival ESPN for the TV rights.
Qatar beat bids from Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States to win the right to host soccer’s showpiece tournament despite temperatures in the Gulf nation reaching 50 degrees Celsius in the middle of the year.
After heavy criticism of the decision, calls were made to move it from its normal date to the end of the year when temperatures in Qatar are lower.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) chairman Lowy, the billionaire owner of the Westfield shopping centre empire, said a quick decision over the move at FIFA’s executive board meeting next month risked “making a bad situation worse”.
As well as the other bidders, Lowy said countries with professional leagues, like Australia’s top flight A-league, which would be disrupted by the move should also be compensated.