HOOFDDORP, Netherlands, (Reuters) - Twenty-eight days is not enough time to play the 2022 World Cup, the world players’ union FIFPro said on Wednesday.
FIFPro general secretary Theo van Seggelen said he was also worried about the possibility that domestic competitions could continue while the tournament in Qatar was underway.
“It’s a continuing story,” Van Seggelen told Reuters. “Our concern is that it is impossible for the players to play a tournament in four weeks. ”Can you imagine...you play on Saturday and Sunday in the different competitions.
“Then on Monday they leave first to go to their own country. The coach asks them how they are and on the same day, they have to go to Qatar, they are traveling for two days, and then they play four or five or seven games.
“There is no rest period, there is no preparation for any national team, that’s crazy. Everybody now is coming to the conclusion that it will be very difficult to play a tournament in such a short time.”
FIFA decided in March that the 2022 World Cup would be played in November and December, rather than the traditional June/July slot, to escape the searing summer heat of Qatar.
Soccer’s governing body said the final would be on Dec. 18 and added that, in principle, the tournament would be over a shortened period of around 28 days, rather than the usual 31 or 32, to reduce on the impact on the European club season.
The international calendar for 2019-2022 is still being drawn up and Van Seggelen said he understood the World Cup could start only a few days after a full weekend of domestic matches.
This would leave no preparation or training time for national sides, who usually have two weeks to warm up for an international tournament.
Van Seggelen is also concerned that some domestic leagues will continue during the World Cup.
”They are going to continue playing other competitions around the whole world,“ he said. ”Have they any idea what that means, on the influence on the number of viewers?
“If you play on an amateur level and a professional level, then the players have to train, the fans go to matches, I don’t see how it works from a practical point of view.”
Meanwhile, the plight of migrant workers has not improved and professional footballers are among those still subjected to the kafala, or sponsorship, system.
Most of Qatar’s workforce is made up of foreign workers and international human rights groups have raised questions about the treatment of those employed to build World Cup venues.
Qatar denies workers are mistreated and says it has improved its safeguards since winning the right to host the cup.
“For us, what happens with the workers, and don’t forget what happens with the kafala system for our players… it is unacceptable,” Van Seggelen said Under the kafala system, a worker can only change job or obtain an exit visa with the permission of his employer.
Van Seggelen said FIFPro would only engage with Qatari-based organizations once he was sure that the situation had improved.
“As long as they do not change that, we will not participate in any event in Qatar,” he said.
“We stay out of it...we first have to be sure that the situation has changed and it has not changed up to now.”
Editing by Ed Osmond