Published On: Fri, May 9th, 2014
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Europe’s top professional leagues oppose World Cup in Qatar

Europe’s top leagues have stated opposition to changing the 2022 Qatar World Cup dates from summer to winter.

The European Professional Football Leagues group says ”all scenarios on the rescheduling of the World Cup in Qatar are damaging the domestic competitions and leagues’ business interests.”

Top-tier leagues face an eight-week midseason break if the World Cup kicks off in November, which is the suggestion of FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

Members of the EPFL board met Thursday and reiterated its view to keep the summer date. Blatter has set March as a deadline to decide the tournament dates.

Last month, Qatar organizers were debating whether to build all 12 stadiums outlined in their successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

Qatar defeated bids from the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australiato host the World Cup, promising air-conditioned stadiums amid billions of dollars in infrastructure projects, although the decision has been marred by allegations that the voting process was flawed.

There have also been concerns over conditions for migrant construction workers, and the sweltering summer heat in the tiny Gulf nation that could lead to a change from the traditional June-July period for the tournament.

Blatter has already suggested moving the tournament to later in the year to avoid the searing desert heat. Qatar hosted the Under-20 World Cup for FIFA in April 1995, and its 2022 organizing committee insists it can still fulfill a promise to host in midsummer in air-conditioned stadiums, training camps and public areas.

In recent months, Qatar has sought to allay widespread concerns about conditions for migrant workers on World Cup building projects by detailing how their rights must be protected by contractors.

Rights group Amnesty International called the charter a ”positive, if partial” step. But the International Trade Union Confederation complained that 2022 World Cup leaders have not demanded changes in Qatar’s labor laws despite mounting criticism from rights groups.