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‘Review Qatar 2022 WC decision’ English FA chief certain no summer tourney

LONDON, July 22, (Agencies): FIFA should review the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar if an investigation shows that corruption played a part in the winning bid, English Football Association Chairman Greg Dyke said on Tuesday. Appearing before a parliamentary committee, Dyke said FIFA should publish in full a report into the bidding process for 2018 and 2022 being compiled by American lawyer Michael Garcia. However, Dyke played down talking of stripping Russia of the 2018 tournament because of political tensions over Ukraine. Garcia, who has been leading a FIFA ethics committee investigation into allegations of corruption surrounding the award of the 2022 World Cup to the Gulf state, will submit his report in September. “If Mr Garcia shows that there have been corrupt activities, the whole thing should be reconsidered,” Dyke said.

Dyke played down suggestions that Russia could be stripped of the World Cup as a punishment for the downing of a passenger plane over Ukraine last week which Western nations have blamed on separatists backed by Moscow. “I think there will be a World Cup in Russia,” Dyke told reporters after the hearing. He had earlier told lawmakers that a decision to move a World Cup should not be based on “one week’s events”. Dyke said he believe that FIFA President Sepp Blatter would be re-elected if he stands again next year despite corruption allegations surrounding world soccer’s governing body. Blatter has been head of FIFA since 1998 and is expected to seek another term.

“If he runs again he will win,” Dyke said, adding that European distaste for the methods of the 78-year-old Swiss was not shared in other parts of the world. Dyke said that England, which lost out to Russia in the bidding for 2018, would focus on hosting European events for the time being. He said Blatter’s dislike for the British media, which has led campaigns to expose FIFA corruption, made it impossible to win a World Cup bid. “Mr Blatter’s view of the English media is such that he says why would you want to take it to England?” the former head of the BBC said. The plain-speaking Dyke jokingly compared FIFA to a one-party state, in comments unlikely to endear him to Blatter. Referring to a meeting of FIFA’s congress in Sao Paulo he attended in June, Dyke said it was “like something out of North Korea at times — hail to the leader.” The head of England’s Football Association told lawmakers Tuesday he is certain the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will not be held in the summer because it would be “too dangerous”.
 
Greg Dyke, giving evidence to the British parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport select committee, re-iterated his belief that temperatures would be too high to hold World Cup in the Gulf state in the traditional summer months. The bidding process that saw wealthy Qatar win a vote in 2010 to stage the 2022 World Cup has been overshadowed by bribery allegations. Concerns have also been raised about playing conditions in Qatar, where summer temperatures can exceed 50 degrees Celsius. Organisers have promised to provide air-conditioned stadiums. “I am certain it won’t happen in the summer,” Dyke said. “There is no chance it will be held in the summer of 2022 — the discussion is when else it will be held.”
 
He added: “If you’ve been to Qatar in the summer you can hardly walk in the streets. “Air-conditioned stadiums are one thing but fans moving around on the streets, in and out of stadiums — it will be too dangerous to have it there in the summer.” FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said he wants the World Cup held in he northern hemisphere winter to avoid the searing temperatures. But no decision is due to be taken until 2015. England coach Roy Hodgson retains the support of the Football Association despite the team’s dismal showing at the World Cup last month, FA Chairman Greg Dyke said on Tuesday. Dyke said he thought Hodgson did “quite a good job” in Brazil and repeated his view that there were too many foreign players in the Premier League for the national team to thrive.
 
“I’ve got a lot of time for him (Hodgson),” Dyke told MPs when asked about the England team’s performance during a parliamentary hearing. Dyke said deep-rooted problems in English soccer would make it tough for the national team to repeat their sole World Cup success on home soil in 1966. “The real problem is there is no pathway for 17 or 18-year-old English boys to get through the system,” he said. “I think it’s going to get tougher and tougher unless we do something about it,” he said, lamenting the fact that only around 30 percent of Premier League players are English. He said that world champions Germany had “an unwritten rule” over the number of foreign players in the Bundesliga, creating room for talented German youngsters to come through.
 
“The other problem we’ve got is that none of our players play overseas,” added Dyke. Hodgson has also said that English players would benefit from gaining experience by playing abroad and might get more opportunities than they do in the Premier League. England made an early exit from the World Cup in Brazil last month, picking up only one point from three group games. However, there has been little clamour for Hodgson to go, with the media and many fans acknowledging the limitations of the current squad. An FA commission set up by Dyke proposed allowing Premier League clubs to field B teams in lower leagues to help foster young talent but the plan has run into a lot of opposition from smaller clubs and traditionalists. (RTRS)

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