FIFA: Qatar 2022 winter World Cup likely, Jan-Feb or Nov-Dec 'options'
The Qatar World Cup is likely to be played in either January-February 2022 or November-December 2022, says FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has admitted the competition cannot be played in the summer due to average temperatures in Qatar rising to nearly 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Farenheit) during the World Cup's traditional June-July slot, with calls for the tournament to be moved to May as European clubs are against a winter competition.
However, following a task force meeting in Zurich on Nov. 3 set up by the FIFA Executive Committee to assess options for the international match calendar between 2018 and 2024, Valcke says a winter World Cup is increasingly likely.
"We are getting closer to narrowing the dates for the FIFA World Cup to two options -- January-February 2022 or November-December 2022 -- but FIFA has also been asked to consider May 2022," he said via a press release. "We will summarise what we've heard today and provide feedback to all parties in order for them to prepare for the next meeting as we progress towards a final decision."
FIFA's Chief Medical Officer professor Jiri Dvorok provided a report on the medical concerns related to player safety and fan safety for a summer tournament, while the press release states that Local Organising Committee CEO Hassan Al Thawadi says "for the Middle East, the ideal situation and circumstances for an all-inclusive World Cup would be for it to be held in the winter."
Presentations suggesting April-May 2022 and May-June 2022 as alternative periods for the World Cup were given by the European Club Association and the Association of European Professional Football Leagues respectively.
Further consultations are expected, with the task force due to hold its next meeting in early 2015.
A British MP has urged the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to reconsider its decision not to investigate allegations of FIFA corruption during the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Conservative MP Damian Collins called for an investigation after media reports in the U.S. that Chuck Blazer -- a former FIFA executive between 1996 and 2013 -- recorded conversations with football officials at the London 2012 Olympics after being recruited by the FBI.
World football's governing body has been heavily criticised after Blatter announced that FIFA ethics investigator Michael's Garcia report into alleged voting corruption for both the Qatar 2018 and Russia 222 World Cup bids will not be made public.
The report was handed over to FIFA ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, who is due to examine the findings.