FIFA vice president backs idea of winter World Cup in 2022
Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein represents Asia region
Temperatures in the Gulf state soar in June and July
The 36-year-old Jordanian encouraging women's participation in football
Moving the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar to the winter would “definitely make sense,” the FIFA vice president with responsibility for the region, has told CNN.
Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein has been in his role, representing the whole of Asia, since January 2011, shortly after the award of the 2018 and 2022 tournaments to Russia and Qatar.
The idea of moving the competition from its traditional slot in June and July when temperatures soar in the Gulf region, to December and January, when it is cooler, has been floated by a number of leading football officials, including UEFA president Michel Platini.
That would interrupt the European league season, but Al Hussein has taken a pragmatic view.
“It would definitely make sense,” he said.
“I mean they have had the Asian Finals in the winter but again that goes back to them as organizers and we will be there to support them.”
The 36-year-old is the youngest member of the executive committee of football’s world governing body and is also president of the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF), which covers the Middle East. region.
He is ambitious for football in his region and believes that they can match the achievements of the leading European leagues in the future.
“I think of course, if we work as hard as we can, both as officials, as team managers, as players all across the spectrum then definitely I think in the future we can be the best,” he believes.
He has also been keen to promote women’s football, despite cultural difficulties in many countries under his jurisdiction.
The prince successfully lobbied to gain acceptance of women being able to play wearing the hijab, the Muslim head dress that covers the hair, ears and neck, a violation of a FIFA ban on all religious and political symbols.
“I think it is very important obviously to allow everyone to play our game and I am very happy that now we have given the opportunity for women all across the world to participate in the sport that they love.
“I am very proud that at the end of the day IFAB (International Football Association Board) has taken the right decision in that respect.”
He was elected to the FIFA executive on a platform of greater transparency in the wake of corruption scandals which saw one of his predecessors in the vice president role, Qatari Mohamed Bin Hammam, banned for life on bribery charges.