The chairman of the European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL), Frederic Thiriez, has hinted that the association would back legal action against FIFA over the scheduling of the 2022 World Cup. “Seventy-five per cent of players at the World Cup will come from our leagues and it is not possible to have a system of governance where our views are not involved. We want to be around the table in talks,” he said.
FIFA ended more than four years of uncertainty over the timing of the 2022 tournament in Qatar by announcing on Thursday that it would be played in November and December with the final on December 18.
It will be the first time the tournament has been played outside the European summer.
“We are very disappointed with the decision of the FIFA Executive Committee to move the World Cup to November and December,” Thiriez, who is also president of the French football league, told a news conference on Saturday. “It will cause serious damage from a sporting and financial point of view and it raises serious questions about the people involved in the decision making process. It shows a lack of good governance in international football bodies as they have not taken an interest in the whole football world.
“It is unthinkable that leagues are not part of the decision-making process. There is now work to be done in lessening the damage of the decision.
“The EPFL is ready to support any legal action which individual leagues may take in the future.”
Thiriez emphasised the importance of European football to the world game and that the EPFL sent a report to FIFA recommending the tournament be played in May, but it was ignored.
“We are not against Qatar but against playing the World Cup in winter. We tried to find solutions and wrote a report saying that it was possible to play in May,” said Thiriez. “Our report though was not even examined and that is not acceptable.