World Cup news

'Lego' fixtures for winter World Cup

August 9, 2013
By Stephan Uersfeld, Germany Correspondent

Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has revealed plans to change the pattern of domestic football fixtures to accommodate a winter World Cup.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
PA PhotosRummenigge believes the system would have advantages.

With the 2022 tournament in Qatar looking increasingly likely to be held in winter after FIFA president Sepp Blatter said it was possible to "cool down the stadiums, but you can't cool down the whole country", Rummenigge said UEFA favoured a block system of domestic fixtures.

Speaking to German football magazine kicker, he explained: "I like to call it the Lego system.

"The idea is based on periods of time. You could hold a World Cup in January or February -- for instance the one in Qatar -- and if the World Cup returns to Europe in 2026, you could play it in the summer again."

In order to achieve that, different fixture "blocks" had to be formed, he said, adding: "[There would be] Some three or four months for club football only, then maybe a month of national team football for qualification games and friendlies.

"This system can be adjusted to play World Cups in January or June. You only have to move the modules around. Of course this would be revolutionary and, at the beginning, maybe a bit irritating for the fans, but I am convinced it can also have advantages."

Rummenigge also said he hoped the ongoing debate over the Qatar World Cup would soon come to an end, and hit out at comments made by former German FA president Dr Theo Zwanziger about the issue.

Zwanziger called for the decision to award the event to Qatar to be reversed and said the "unity of German football" would be endangered by the need to rearrange fixtures for a winter tournament.

Rummenigge said: "Just look at the statements Dr Theo Zwanziger made - he gives you the impression everything is corrupt. But he doesn’t have any proof and, if he has no proof, he should be quiet.

“What he does right now is not good for German football. If there is proof, show it to us. And if there is no proof, now is the time to stop and put an end to the discussion."

In 2011, Rummenigge hit out at FIFA "corruption" and, speaking to Bild, Zwanziger said: "I deem the Qatar decision false. I am astonished how the biggest critics of the decision have backtracked in a hurry."

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