FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke has announced that the 2022 World Cup to be held in Qatar will be played in the winter.
“It will be played between November 15 and January 15 at the latest. If it’s played between November 15 and the end of December, that is when the weather is most favorable,” Valcke, who is Sepp Blatter’s deputy, told France Info.
The tournament is traditionally held between June and July, but concerns have been raised over the potential health risks of staging a World Cup during the intense heat of a Qatari summer.
Moving the tournament could also create problems for lucrative club competitions such as Europe’s Champions League, while also impacting on American broadcasters.
“You’re playing in temperatures that are equivalent to a hot spring in Europe,” added Valcke referring to the idea of staging the event in June and July, “so playing in an average temperature of 25 degrees (Celsius) … perfect for playing football.”
The FIFA Executive Committee is due to meet at its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland in March and the world governing body quickly distanced itself from Valcke’s comments.
“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,” FIFA said in a statement.