A powerful group of top European football clubs is set to lobby for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to take place between April and May.
The European Club Association, an umbrella organisation representing the interests of 214 teams from the continent, is a persuasive voice in the ongoing negotiations around when the tournament will be scheduled.
On Friday the ECA, which counts 10 English clubs among its number, said it was assessing alternative options to those currently on the table and viewed the April/May proposal as a live option.
A spokesman told Press Association Sport: “ECA is indeed considering alternatives to the November/December and January/February proposals. April/May seems to be a possible option. Our official proposal with all details will be presented and discussed at the FIFA Task Force meeting on November 3rd.”
A traditional mid-summer competition appears to have few supporters, with heat and humidity in the Middle East state reaching levels that could compromise the safety of players and spectators.
Bringing the event forward to January or February has has been mooted but a clash with the Winter Olympics presents a potentially insurmountable obstacle.
Another alternative, apparently favoured by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, would see the World Cup take place in November and December, when the climate would be more suited to football.
But that would represent a huge disruption to many domestic leagues, a prospect that could wreak havoc with European structures – effectively splitting the 2022-23 campaign in two as well as having a knock-on effect to future seasons.
Now it seems ECA, formed in 2008 and backed by the power of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris St Germain as well as the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and both Manchester clubs, will push for its own vision.
May temperatures would still be stifling, but unlikely to be significantly higher than those experienced in Mexico (1986), the United States (1994) or Japan and South Korea (2002).
The stadium cooling technology that Qatar has long promised will be available and could also come into play in such circumstances.
The FIFA task force, which consists of a wide span of stakeholders, will receive representations from ECA at their forthcoming meeting, will recommend its preferred timetable to FIFA’s executive committee next year.