The 2022 World Cup in Qatar looks set to be played in November after Fifa’s secretary general stated that the tournament “will not be in June or July”.
Jerome Valcke, who has been given the task of looking at alternative dates due to the fierce heat of the summer in Qatar, says it is likely to be held some time between November 15 and January 15.
Valcke may have jumped the gun — Fifa insist it is just his personal view and that no decision has been made — but it now looks certain to be in the winter of 2022 with November the most likely date.
He has been in close contact with Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore and has agreed to avoid any clash with Christmas fixtures. He also needs to avoid the winter Olympics in the February of 2022 which leaves November as the only realistic option.
Valcke told France Info radio station: “It will not be in June or July. Frankly I think it’ll be played between November 15 and January 15 at the latest.”
Valcke suggested it will be “like a warm spring in Europe” with “an average temperature of 25 degrees, therefore it’s perfect for football”.
Fifa said in a statement that Valcke was expressing his own view and that no decision would be taken on the timing before this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
The statement said: “Secretary General Jerome Valcke explained today in the Radio France interview that in his view the 2022 Fifa World Cup must take place in winter and the best possible timeframe would be 15 November to 15 January.
“However, 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 (commercial affiliates and media rights licensees).
“As the event will not be played until eight years’ time the consultation process will not be rushed and will be given the necessary time to consider all of the elements relevant for a decision.
“Consequently, no decision will be taken before the upcoming 2014 Fifa World Cup Brazil as agreed by the Fifa executive committee.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved