DOHA, Qatar – The work group tasked with preparing FIFA’s international fixture schedule for the 2018-2024 period proposed on Tuesday that the 2022 Qatar World Cup be played between the end of November and the end of December of that year, due to the high temperatures reached in the Arab country during the usual summer dates.
This alternative proposed by the task force, which held on Tuesday in Doha its third and final meeting after a six-month consultation process, will be discussed at the next meeting of FIFA’s Executive Committee, convened for March 19-20 in Zurich.
“Given that the two bidding cities for the 2022 Winter Olympics – Almaty (Kazakhstan) and Beijing (China PR) – recently pledged to host the winter games from 4 to 20 February 2022; that the month of Ramadan begins on 2 April in 2022; and that consistently hot conditions prevail from May to September in Qatar, the only remaining effective option is the November/December window,” FIFA said in a statement published on its website.
The statement also stressed that “for legal reasons, the 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup must be played within the calendar year 2022,” and explained that the proposal was backed by all six soccer confederations, although representatives of various national leagues have again insisted on the “impact that a November/December tournament would have on their respective calendars.”
The proposal aims to reduce the total number of days the World Cup will last, which would be determined according to the match schedule and the number of venues hosting the competition.
The working group also suggested the option of holding the 2021 Confederations Cup in a country other than Qatar during the traditional period from June to July, and relocating another competition, probably the Club World Cup, to Qatar “to serve as the operational test event for Qatar in November/December 2021.”
According to FIFA, both on Tuesday and in previous meetings of the special task force, chaired by president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and FIFA Executive Committee member Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, the different scheduling options were studied “to determine the one with the least impact on national and international soccer calendars.”
“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 soccer in general,” said the work group’s chair, Sheikh Al Khalifa.