Soccer in cold illogical: Rummenigge
By John Leicester ,APPARIS -- A scheduling change away from winter soccer could be coming to Europe, according to Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
January 31, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
Rummenigge, who is also chairman of the 207-member European Club Association that lobbies for the rights of European clubs, told France Football magazine that it makes no sense that European clubs play in midwinter.
“Everywhere, be it Germany, France or England, summer is the best period of the year. And that is the season we don't play,” Rummenigge said in Tuesday's edition. “In deepest winter, when it is very cold and snowing, we play nearly all the time in conditions that are disagreeable for both players and spectators. It is not logical.”
Rummenigge told France Football that FIFA and UEFA are “seriously thinking” about an overhaul of the soccer calendar so European leagues would open in January and wrap up at the end of autumn.
“My sense is that we are heading straight in this direction,” the former West Germany international was quoted as saying of possible January-autumn European leagues.
Asked whether soccer's traditional summer break could be abandoned, Rummenigge replied: “It's completely possible, even if this idea does not thrill our friends in South America.”
A sweeping overhaul of league and international schedules for the world's most popular sport would likely be far more complex than Rummenigge's comments suggested, perhaps impossible.
The suggestion that club soccer could monopolize the calendar and that FIFA's principal source of income, the World Cup, and UEFA's European Championship could be tacked on at the end of the year, when club soccer is finished, won't likely thrill officials at either of those governing bodies.
There are also major financial, broadcasting, geographical, sporting and cultural obstacles to any drastic overhaul — not least the issue of whether Europeans would attend and watch soccer in summer months when many of them traditionally sun themselves on beaches.
Responding to emailed questions from The Associated Press, FIFA said Tuesday that the international schedule for 2018-2022 “will have to be completed by 2016 at the latest.”
FIFA's Strategic Committee will discuss scheduling at its next meeting on Feb. 15. Rummenigge sits on that committee.