By Regan Doherty / Reuters
DOHA: Soccer’s ruling body FIFA should specify regions where it would like to stage World Cups so that nations outside those locations do not waste money on losing bids, said English Premier League chairman Dave Richards.
“I believe England didn’t understand the ground rules when we went in – and paid the price,” he told a conference in Doha on Wednesday referring to the failed attempt to win the right to stage the 2018 World Cup which will now be hosted by Russia.
“Why couldn’t they (FIFA) have said, we want to take it to the Gulf, to the eastern bloc? We spent 19 million pounds ($29.90 million) on that bid,” added Richards in a reference to Qatar’s winning bid for the 2022 finals.
“When we went for it everybody believed we had a chance. But as we went through it a pattern emerged that suggested maybe we didn’t.”
Richards said players and fans would find it difficult to cope with the extreme summer temperatures of the Gulf.
“I think Qatar did a fantastic job in getting the World Cup,” he added. “The big downside is the weather. Can we play a World Cup in June?
“There are thousands and thousands of fans to consider and you have to look at it. My medical people in England have talked about the effect (the heat) will have on the players but you’ve also got to look beyond the players to the fans.”
Richards said the availability of alcohol was another issue that would need to be addressed in advance of the 2022 tournament.
“If you don’t do something about it you’re starting to bury your head in the sand a bit,” he explained. “You’ve got to address it.
“In terms of (balancing) cultures there’s got to be a happy medium. The English will acknowledge the culture of the Gulf but in England (a beer) is our tradition, it’s part of our heritage.”
Earlier on Wednesday, 2022 Supreme Committee Secretary General Hassan Al Thawadi said Qatar was considering whether to allow alcohol in stadiums at the World Cup before adding he did not see a need for it.
In his opening remarks Richards said “the British own the game and we brought it to the rest of the world”, though he later backtracked and said all nations were now “custodians” of the game.