The 2022 World Cup in Qatar should take place in November and December, a FIFA taskforce has recommended.
Key football officials met in Doha to discuss a number of options following fears a summer event would endanger the health of players and fans, BBC reports. Summer temperatures in Qatar can exceed 40C while those in November-December drop to the mid-20s. Tuesday’s recommendation is expected to be ratified by FIFA’s executive committee in Zurich on 19 and 20 March. Taskforce chief Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa also recommended that the 2022 tournament should be shortened by a few days. But there are no plans to reduce the size of the tournament from 32 teams or 64 matches. The news will upset some of Europe’s top leagues, who preferred an April-May option to minimise disruption to their own domestic programmes. The other date under consideration was January-February, but that raised the prospect of a clash with the Winter Olympics.
FIFA issued a statement confirming the taskforce’s recommendation. It said a number of options had been discussed but felt that November-December was the best one because:
- The two bidding cities for the 2022 Winter Olympics – Almaty (Kazakhstan) and Beijing (China) – plan to hold the event from 4 to 20 February, 2022
- The month of Ramadan begins on 2 April in 2022
- And that consistently hot conditions prevail from May to September in the Gulf state
The statement continued: “The only remaining effective option is the November/December window.”
Sheikh Salman added: “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. “It was a challenging task and I want to thank all members of the football community for their productive input and constructiveness in helping to find a solution that we believe can work for everyone.”