The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has reiterated the assurances it has been given that the 2022 FIFA World Cup and Winter Olympics will not clash, amid claims football’s quadrennial showpiece could elbow the Games to another date.
Amid concerns over the searing temperatures typically seen in Qatar during the summer, its World Cup is set to be moved to the winter.
Assuming an ethics probe into the 2022 World Cup bid process does not see Qatar stripped of the tournament, it is set to be played in either November and December, or January and February.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter has indicated he is in favour of staging the tournament at the end of 2022.
But this week, the European Club Association’s vice-president said January and February would be better, and suggested the Winter Olympics should be moved.
Arguing that the start of the year would be a better fit for the tournament because “65 per cent of the leagues have winter breaks at that time,” AC Milan’s Umberto Gandini added: “The World Cup is one of the major events in the sports landscape [along] with the Summer Olympics.
“But the Winter Olympics are not up there.
“When you have such a huge event like the World Cup don’t tell me it’s not possible to move the Winter Olympics a bit especially with it still in the bid process and there are only two candidates.”
The European Club Association represents around 200 clubs.
Every Winter Olympic Games held this century has staged its Opening Ceremony in the first two weeks of February.
Pyeongchang 2018 is due to get underway on February 9.
But the IOC remains convinced a clash with the World Cup will not happen.
Communications director Mark Adams said: “It is in the interest of both organisations [FIFA and IOC] that there is no clash between our calendars, and we have received assurances from President Blatter that this will not be the case.”
Kazakhstan’s largest city Almaty and Chinese city Beijing are both battling to stage the 2022 Olympics, with the winning bid scheduled to be chosen at the IOC Session on July 31 in Kuala Lumpur.
A FIFA Task Force has been set up to look at options of when to stage the World Cup in eight years’ time.
It is expected to meet again in November before a final decision is made next year.