Qatar World Cup shift set to disrupt Japan's domestic football schedule
Qatar World Cup shift gives Japan winter blues
A November start to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar would cause severe disruption to Japan’s domestic football schedule, the head of the J-League told AFP on Monday.
A FIFA taskforce has recommended the controversial tournament take place in November and December to avoid the scorching summer heat in the Gulf state, a proposal which could be ratified by the body’s executive committee next month.
“If the World Cup does start in November, it would come right at the peak of the Japanese season,” J-League chairman Mitsuru Murai said in an interview.
“It would therefore have an extremely big impact on our schedule. But it’s a World Cup in Asia — and so we will have to cooperate by cramming in games in order to help make it a success.”
Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, who heads the taskforce, has circled November and December because stifling heat between May and September leave few alternative options.
A January-February tournament would clash with the Winter Olympics, while April is the month of Ramadan in 2022.
“I’m also taking part in the taskforce meetings,” said Murai. “While no final decision has been made, it looks as though a November start is likely. That comes in the middle of the season in Europe, but in Japan it clashes with the season run-in.”
The J-League season traditionally begins in March and runs until early December, but Murai expressed concern about bringing forward the start of the 2022 campaign due to freezing winter temperatures in large parts of Japan.