- Associated Press - Monday, December 1, 2014

LONDON (AP) - IOC President Thomas Bach says he’s convinced FIFA will keep its pledge to prevent the 2022 World Cup from clashing with that year’s Winter Olympics, as soccer’s governing body considers whether to move the tournament to January-February to avoid Qatar’s summer heat.

FIFA has assured the International Olympic Committee that the two events won’t clash, but some senior soccer officials like UEFA President Michel Platini recently suggested they don’t share those concerns.

However, Bach said he’s convinced the pledge from FIFA President Sepp Blatter to keep the events separate on the calendar still stands.

“I have no reason not to believe (him),” Bach said in an interview with British broadcaster BBC on Monday. “He made it very clear that a clash of these two great events is in nobody’s interest.”

FIFA is studying options for when to stage the 2022 tournament in Qatar, with the two main proposals being to play in either January-February or November-December.

The 2022 Winter Olympics are expected to be held in February, with Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, the only candidate cities bidding for the games.

“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,” Bach said. “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.”

FIFA’s panel studying 2022 options meets again in about two months.

UEFA is among several continental soccer confederations who are pushing for the January-February option, and Platini indicated last month that the World Cup’s interests should come first.

“(FIFA) don’t want to clash with the Olympic Committee but the rest of the world wants to find the best solution for the football,” he said.

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