Sports / Center

Bach sure Blatter will keep his word over Qatar Cup

By Agence France-Presse in London (China Daily) Updated: 2014-12-03 07:11

There will be no clash between the 2022 Winter Olympics and the controversy-plagued World Cup finals to be hosted by Qatar the same year, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach told the BBC on Monday.

Bach, who succeeded Belgian Jacques Rogge in September 2013, said he was confident FIFA president Sepp Blatter would stick to his pledge that the finals, which are due to be switched from the searing heat of June and July, would not take place in January and February when the Winter Games are penciled in for.

"I have no reason not to believe (Blatter)," the 60-year-old German said.

"He made it very clear that a clash of these two great events is in nobody's interest.

"And therefore his clear commitment was, and is, that there will not be such a clash."

Bach, whose 2020 program for taking the Olympic Movement forward will be debated by the IOC members in Monaco next week, said if there was a clash it would not be good for either the Olympics or soccer.

FIFA has been eyeing either hosting the finals in January and February or November and December, with UEFA president Michel Platini among those voicing a preference for the former.

"A clash would be bad for the international audience who would have two major sports programs broadcast worldwide, so the public's attention would be divided," said Bach.

"Also for the sponsors, there are some that are common to FIFA and the IOC. To manage these two kind of programs at the same time would be very difficult, so in the end there would be no winners.

"The athletes and the players would not get the attention they deserve and for all the other sponsors and broadcasters being involved it would be very, very difficult to manage.

"It's in the mutual interest that this is not happening and we have this commitment."

Bach, who wants to make the Games more affordable, and encourage more flexibility over bidding and choice of sports, said it was virtually impossible for the IOC to move the Winter Olympics dates.

"Our dates, they are clear. We are committed to the future organizer (Beijing or Almaty) and the Winter Games in particular you need to adapt to the weather conditions in a country so there is no real room to maneuver," said Bach.

(China Daily 12/03/2014 page23)

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