FIFA kicks off talks on 2022 World Cup dates

AFP , Tuesday 24 Feb 2015

2022 World Cup
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani (L), Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov (R) and FIFA president Sepp Blatter present a copy of the World Cup after the announcement that Russia and Qatar is going to be host nation for the FIFA World Cup 2018 and 2022, in Zurich December 2, 2010. (Photo: Reuters)

A FIFA taskforce met Tuesday in Doha to discuss moving the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to winter due to scorching summer temperatures in the Gulf state.

A shift to November-December is seen as likely but faces resistance from European clubs who fear major disruption to high-profile championships such as La Liga, Bundesliga and the Premier League.

Officials from football's global governing body, top leagues and players' representatives are attending the crucial meeting.

About 40 delegates were bussed into the Qatar National Convention Centre, in central Doha, as the talks began just after 0700 GMT.

The group went straight into the meeting without talking to waiting journalists.

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke was the last to arrive and there was a small moment of light relief when the automatic doors would not open for him, but he eventually got into the building.

Traditionally the World Cup is played in June and July and if the competition is shifted to November and December, it is likely the European clubs will seek hefty compensation.

They are likely to be unsuccessful as European football's governing body, UEFA, has already accepted a switch to winter.

The move to November and December is seen as necessary because of the extreme weather condition in Qatar during the summer, when temperatures soar above 40 degrees Celsius.

The task force will make a recommendation to FIFA whose executive committee will reach a decision on March 19-20 in Zurich.

The task force also has to take into consideration other sports.

It must seek to avoid holding a tournament that will not clash with the International Olympic Committee as the 2022 Winter Olympics will be held in January or February.

Qatar has said it is happy to host the World Cup on whichever date FIFA chooses and that it is developing air-cooling technology to accommodate players and fans during the fierce Qatari summer.

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