ANCIENT OLYMPIA (Reuters) - Staging the 2022 Qatar soccer World Cup in winter will not affect the Winter Olympics in the same year, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said on Sunday.
Bach, who was attending the Sochi 2014 Winter Games torch lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia, said he had had talks with FIFA president Sepp Blatter and was confident the two major sports events would steer clear of each other.
“This is a FIFA discussion and the IOC will not interfere,” German Bach told two international news agencies.
“I have spoken with president Blatter a couple of weeks ago when he made the proposal to have the World Cup in November 2022 and we will now follow these discussion in the executive commission of FIFA.”
Qatar, which had bid for a traditional summer tournament in a country where summer temperatures top 45 degree Celsius, was awarded the World Cup three years ago in a surprise decision.
The IOC’s winter Games usually fall in the first three months of the year.
“I am very sure that there will be a solution in the mutual interest because neither FIFA nor the IOC want a clash of dates for such major world sports events. This is why I am not worries at all,” said Bach, who succeeded Jacques Rogge at the helm of the IOC this month.
Officials in the energy-rich Gulf state have repeatedly said they are open to a switch to winter dates but reiterated that despite the extreme heat the World Cup could be staged in summer by building air-conditioned stadiums using newly environmentally friendly technology.
There have already been calls for compensation if the dates are switched and Blatter said this month it may have been a mistake to award a summer tournament to Qatar.
Editing by John Mehaffey