Jérôme Valcke, the secretary general of football’s world governing body Fifa, has paved the way for a winter World Cup in 2022 by claiming today that the tournament in Qatar will not take place in the summer.
A Fifa working group is currently looking at the dates for the 2022 tournament, and although fears have been expressed surrounding the impact of the stifling Middle Eastern summer on players and fans, a decision on whether to shift the competition from its traditional June-July window was not due to be taken until after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
It was announced following a Fifa Executive Committee meeting in October that a consultation process over a possible shift in the tournament’s dates would include the “international football community” featuring Fifa, confederations, member associations, leagues, clubs and players, as well as Fifa’s media rights partners and commercial affiliates.
According to the AFP news agency, Valcke told Radio France today: “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.”
Just hours earlier, Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said that concerns over weather conditions for the Qatar tournament had been overplayed. The Bahraini became president of Asian football’s governing body in May 2013 and is chairing the Fifa working group responsible for looking at the dates of the tournament.
Sheikh Salman told the Gulf News newspaper: “I don’t think there is any controversy. I think it is a controversy that has been created by some. If people talk about the weather, I don’t think the weather is as bad as when we played in Mexico (1970 and 1986) and the United States (1994), when we all saw temperatures of 100 degrees (Fahrenheit, 38°C).”
The AFC chief added: “I don’t think playing at night in June would be as bad. But if all the people agree on moving it to a different time, and all the stakeholders are in agreement, I think we are ready to host it. Whether it is in the summer, winter, spring or autumn, we have no issues with that.” [Source: Sport Business]
We are headed towards a complete domestic leagues nightmare, a total TV broadcast chaos, and a full products launch review of football manufacturers. Oh boy!