Winter World Cup in Qatar 2022 moves a step closer

FIFA President Sepp Blatter
FIFA President Sepp Blatter

A WINTER World Cup in Qatar 2022 has moved a step closer after a FIFA task force recommended playing the tournament in November/December.

A final decision is due in mid-March but a World Cup tournament held in the winter would have a major knock-on affect to domestic leagues around the world, including Premier League and Championship clubs Newcastle United, Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

The task force has also recommended the World Cup should be shortened in compensation for moving the tournament to the winter to avoid the fierce heat of June/July.

FIFA’s executive committee meeting in Zurich on March 19 and 20 will make the final decision after the task force recommended “end-November/end-December as the most viable period for the 2022 FIFA World Cup”, said a FIFA statement.

The FIFA statement confirmed the task force had recommended a shorter tournament.

It said: “The outcome of the discussions is also a proposed reduced competition days schedule with the exact dates to be defined inline with the match schedule and number of venues to be used for the 22nd edition of football’s flagship event.”

It added the task force was exploring the option of staging the Confederations Cup in another Asian confederation country during the traditional June/July window in 2021, and using another FIFA competition such as the Club World Cup as the operational test event for Qatar in November/December 2021.

Task force chairman Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said: “We are very pleased that, after careful consideration of the various opinions and detailed discussions with all stakeholders, we have identified what we believe to be the best solution for the 2018-2024 international match calendar and football in general.

“The leagues and clubs had pushed for a May/June tournament but that was ruled out on grounds of heat, but they are expected to push for a reduced preparation period beforehand and a cut in the number of international dates during the season.”