October 26, 2014 / 6:53 PM / in 3 years

FIS president warns FIFA over clash with 2022 Winter Games

SOELDEN Austria (Reuters) - International Ski Federation (FIS) president Gian-Franco Kasper has warned FIFA against holding the 2022 World Cup in Qatar at the same time as the Winter Olympic Games.

Journalists are reflected in a logo at the FIFA headquarters after a meeting of the executive committee in Zurich October 4, 2013. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Kasper, who is also an outspoken member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), was reacting to comments last week by FIFA president Sepp Blatter that the Qatar World Cup would most probably be held in the northern hemisphere winter because June is too hot.

“FIFA is trying to find a way out of a situation they created themselves,” Kasper told Reuters at the alpine skiing World Cup opener in Soelden.

“They could have thought about the weather in Qatar before but if they want to move into the winter, I think it would be possible to have it in November or December,” he added, a position also favored by Blatter in an interview with French radio last week.

“We could live with that. But if they want to move to January and February and overlap with the Winter Games or, like one FIFA representative said, just eliminate those Winter Games that have no interest, then of course I’m heavily opposed to it,” Kasper said.

The 70-year-old Swiss, who has been FIS president since 1998, said a decision to move the World Cup to January or February would be counter-productive to both events.

“If television networks have to cover two major events just one after the other, they cannot afford it,” he said.

Soccer’s European Clubs Association (ECA) said last week it would consider an April/May tournament.

“JUST CRAZY”

Only two cities, Kazakhstan’s Almaty and Beijing, are left bidding for the 2022 Winter Games but Kasper said it was “nothing special” that a number of bidders pulled out.

”I remember that for the Summer Games we once had only one candidate. It’s not the quantity that decides but the quality. “Now we have two Asian candidates, it’s not only in sport but also in the financial world that most things have moved to Asia,” he said.

However, the FIS president is concerned that public opinion in Switzerland, Germany and Norway was against bidding and said it was the result of the vast expense of this year’s Sochi Games.

“It’s the consequence of Sochi and the enormous financial cost they had there. One talks of 51 billion dollars, which is just crazy,” he remarked.

”We have to ask ourselves what we want between ‘nice to have’ and ‘must have’, and if we stick to the ‘must have’, then the problem is more or less solved.

“From the IOC side or the FIS side we should not try to convince hosts to spend more money. We don’t need Buckingham Palace as the start to a bobsleigh or a luge race.”

Editing by Mark Meadows; mark.meadows@thomsonreuters.com; +44 20 7542 7933; Reuters Messaging:; mark.meadows.reuters.com@reuters.net

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