DUBROVNIK, Croatia (AP) — European soccer failed to reach consensus on Thursday in the intensifying debate on switching the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from summer to winter.
Though UEFA's 54 member countries on Wednesday supported the change which threatens upheaval in soccer's historic seasonal calendar, its influential policy advisory body has refused to agree to anything before detailed consultation with FIFA.
Clubs, leagues and players' unions which join national federations in the Professional Football Strategy Council declined to give UEFA President Michel Platini approval for the change, which FIFA President Sepp Blatter says his board should decide on next month.
"It's not an agreement," Theo van Seggelen, secretary general of the FIFPro group of unions, told The Associated Press after the strategy panel discussion. "That has to be agreed by FIFA and we want to be involved in the discussion."
Van Seggelen said the summer heat in Qatar was the most important of several unanswered questions for FIFPro.
One day earlier, UEFA members gave Platini a mandate to back the FIFA move, and prefer to play in January in Qatar.
Platini must weigh how to represent accurately the conflicting views within his soccer family when he leads an eight-strong UEFA delegation at the 27-member FIFA executive committee session in Zurich on Oct. 3-4.
Blatter, who is an International Olympic Committee member, has suggested a November 2022 kickoff, which would avoid impact on the Winter Games scheduled in mid-February.
In a statement on Thursday, the IOC said it was aware of the Qatar discussion.
"We are confident that FIFA will discuss the dates with us so as to coordinate them and avoid any effect on the Winter Games," the Olympic body said.
Van Seggelen strongly opposes a summer World Cup in Qatar, though a move to winter could raise health issues if it forced hundreds of clubs to alter league calendars and play through the hot southern European summer.
"We will not play in Qatar but also not play in other (hot) places, so for us it's simple," he said. "We don't play in the heat because it's not in compliance with our policy."
Dutch league official Frank Rutten, one of four European Professional Football Leagues delegates on the UEFA panel, said he was "satisfied with the outcome" of the two-hour session.
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