EPFL would back legal challenge to 2022 World Cup schedule

European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) chairman Frederic Thiriez has said his association would back legal action against FIFA's decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in November and December.

The climate in host country Qatar meant a summer tournament was not considered feasible by FIFA, and the world governing body confirmed in Zurich on Thursday that its 2022 showpiece will run from Nov. 21 to Dec. 18.

The decision will cause significant disruption to European clubs in the 2022-23 season and Thiriez, who also works as the French Football League (LFP) president, told a news conference that the EPFL would support a legal challenge.

"We are very disappointed with the decision of the FIFA Executive Committee to move the World Cup to November and December," he said, according to Reuters. "It will cause serious damage from a sporting and financial point of view and it raises serious questions about the people involved in the decision making process.

"It shows a lack of good governance in international football bodies as they have not taken an interest in the whole football world. It is unthinkable that leagues are not part of the decision-making process. There is now work to be done in lessening the damage of the decision.

"The EPFL is ready to support any legal action which individual leagues may take in the future."

The comment came after La Liga president Javier Tebas told RAC1 it was "an outrage" that the tournament would take place in November and December.

"It's a catastrophe for the European leagues," Tebas said, according to AS. "I think the decision by FIFA is a bad one. The European leagues provide 75 percent of players at the World Cup and it will be a huge problem for our competitions, because from mid-November to January we will not have a competition. It's an outrage."

Tebas added: "We proposed [to play the tournament in] May because we studied the temperature issue for the supporters and players in Qatar and the organising committee."

A FIFA task force, led by Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa, had last month ruled out the possibility of playing the tournament in May and said a clash with the Winter Olympics, held in January, would be undesirable.

The Premier League has already made clear its opposition to the winter World Cup but suggested on Saturday that it had accepted FIFA's decision.

A Premier League statement read: "While we remain very disappointed with the process and the outcome for deciding the timing of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, at least we now have fixed dates to work with.

"The Premier League's sole focus now is ensuring that the impact on our season is as limited as possible. This means there is still some discussion and accommodation required over call-up periods, international dates and other competition organisers' schedules."

While it seems certain the Premier League will have to shut down for close to two months, to allow players to head away to training camps, participate in the tournament, and return from Qatar, the same may not apply to the English Football League.

Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey said: "While we remain disappointed that the 2022 World Cup will be staged during the playing season, having certainty over the dates will at least now give us the opportunity to consider the implications for the domestic league and cup fixture calendar both during the World Cup itself and elsewhere in the 2022-23 season."

Harvey added: "We will now seek prompt clarification as to whether domestic competitions will be permitted to continue during the period of the tournament, if that ultimately proves to be the choice of our clubs, and whether any such matches could be broadcast on television.

"There will also be any number of other practical issues to address with our clubs and other stakeholders."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.