Gill seeks SWC compromise

2015-02-28 10:12
David Gill (AFP)

Belfast - Former Manchester United chief executive David Gill has welcomed FIFA president Sepp Blatter's suggestion that the 2022 World Cup final in Qatar cannot be played later than Dec. 18.

Gill, who is now on UEFA's executive committee and walked out of a FIFA meeting last year after Blatter called the British media racist, was among delegates attending a meeting of the law-making International Football Association Board (IFAB) on Friday.

Blatter said when he arrived in Belfast earlier on Friday he was against the idea that the final should be played as late as Dec. 23, two days before Christmas.

Gill, who looks set to be elected on to the executive of world soccer's ruling body FIFA next month, backed the Swiss.

"I'm encouraged by the fact president Blatter has come out and said it can't be on the 23rd and the 18th would be the latest it can be which I think is at least a move in the right direction," he told reporters.

The English Premier League has been the most vociferous opponent of the planned November/December World Cup in Qatar.

Gill, who was once at the helm of the Premier League's most successful club, said it was time to accept the notion of the finals being held in winter rather than summer and make compromises.

"It's been decided, let's get on with it. Some of the European leagues that have breaks in January have a bigger problem than the Premier League does," he added.

"There will still be 380 games in the Premier League, 38 per club. We'll still have a great season in 2022-23."

UEFA said this week it wanted the final as late as Dec. 23. There were media reports of a disagreement between the Premier League, who wanted it earlier, and European soccer's governing body but Gill said it was time for everyone to compromise.

"We're getting carried away in terms of creating a rift between UEFA and the Premier League," he added. "There will have to be compromise on all fronts.

"Maybe friendlies will have to be given up, FA Cup replays may be dropped, the League Cup semi-final might be one leg. Everyone has to give something up."

Gill said he thought the cherished English Christmas holiday programme could go ahead as usual with matches on Boxing Day.

"Perhaps they can," he said, "because everyone has big enough squads."

Read more on:    fifa  |  swc 2022  |  soccer


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