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.
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 position in June and July 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.
“Our season takes place during the Australian summer to avoid a clash with other local football codes,” he said.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter last week stood by the decision to award the tournament to Qatar, saying the decision to play the tournament in the middle of the year was the only mistake.
“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 a statement.
“FIFA champions the notion of ‘Fair Play’ and that principle should apply to the decisions it makes in the coming months.”
Australia invested A$43 million ($40.17 million) in their failed bid to host the World Cup for the first time.