FIFA insists the decision on what time of year to hold the 2022 World Cup will not be made until after this summer's tournament, after secretary general Jerome Valcke claimed the Qatar finals would not occur in June and July.
Scheduling has been debated ever since the tournament was controversially awarded to Qatar in December 2010, especially over fears that the summer heat in the Gulf state would be dangerous for players and fans alike.
Valcke reiterated his stance on Wednesday, telling Radio France: “The dates for the World Cup [in Qatar] will not be June-July. To be honest, I think it will be held between November 15 and January 15 at the latest.
“If you play between November 15 and the end of December that's the time when the weather conditions are best, when you can play in temperatures equivalent to a warm spring season in Europe, averaging 25 degrees. That would be perfect for playing football.''
FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce responded to the comments, telling Sky Sports News he was "shocked" to hear Valcke's statement as a decision has yet to be made by the Executive Committee.
And world football's governing body confirmed that Valcke was simply expressing his own opinion.
"Secretary general Jerome Valcke explained today in the Radio France interview -- as he had already mentioned previously -- that in his view the 2022 FIFA World Cup must take place in winter and the best possible time frame would be 15 November to 15 January," a statement from FIFA said.
"However, the precise event date is still subject to an ongoing consultation process which involves all main event stakeholders, including both the international football community (FIFA, confederations, member associations, leagues, clubs, players) as well as FIFA's commercial partners (commercial affiliates and media rights licensees).
"As the event will not be played until eight years' time the consultation process will not be rushed and will be given the necessary time to consider all of the elements relevant for a decision. Consequently, no decision will be taken before the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil as agreed by the FIFA Executive Committee."
As well as controversy over the potential dates of the World Cup, Qatar has also attracted criticism for its alleged mistreatment of the migrant workers who are building the country's stadiums ahead of the World Cup.