A FIFA World Cup task force yesterday called for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to be shortened and held in November-December to avoid summer temperatures.
A tournament from the end of November to the end of December was “the most viable period” for the World Cup, the task force decided, according to a FIFA statement.
A source later told AFP that the dates proposed would see the tournament begin on November 26 with the final held on December 23.
A final decision will be made by the FIFA executive committee at their meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, on March 19 and looks likely to be approved despite Europe’s top clubs stressing their opposition.
If the move goes ahead, it will be the first time the World Cup has been played in these months and away from its traditional northern hemisphere summer format.
“There is one solution, November-December,” said FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke after a meeting of the task force in Doha.
Valcke said the group touched on “all the options”, including considering holding the World Cup in January and February 2023.
“It is clear there are pros and cons for all but there is one solution coming out from this discussion, which is November-December 2022,” said Valcke, adding that the proposal would not please everyone.
The task force chairman, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, said there was also a recommendation for a shorter competition. The 2014
World Cup in Brazil ran for 32 days.
However, officials said there was no proposal to reduce the number of countries taking part from 32.
“The outcome of the discussions is also a proposed reduced competition days schedule with the exact dates to be defined in line with the match schedule and number of venues to be used,” said a FIFA statement.
“The proposed event dates have the full support of all six confederations,” it added.
The move to shift the tournament was backed by Qatari officials. They had insisted they could host a World Cup during their summer but said they would go along with the majority decision.
“We have always committed ourselves to what the football community decides,” said Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) secretary general Hassan al-Thawadi. “We are onboard whatever the executive committee decides.”
FIFA has ruled out holding the tournament in January-February because of a clash with the Winter Olympics, which would put football’s governing body on a collision course with the International Olympic Committee.
But it also said a European club proposal for a tournament in May-June was unworkable because of the summer heat.   
Traditionally the World Cup is played in June and July, but summer temperatures in Qatar soar above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).
In November-December, the temperatures would be around 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit).
Officials from football’s global governing body, top leagues and players’ representatives attended the crucial meeting in Doha.
Europe’s top leagues and clubs, who fear a potentially costly disruption to their domestic championships, expressed reservations over the FIFA group’s recommendation.

SC official welcomes recommendation

A senior official of Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) has welcomed the FIFA task force recommendation for holding the finals of Qatar 2022 World Cup in winter, but reiterated at the same time the state’s readiness to host the World Cup, whether in summer or winter. In a statement to the official Qatar News Agency (QNA), Nasser al-Khater, executive director, communications and marketing at the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, said: “We welcome the recommendation of the FIFA task force and we are ready to host the tournament, whether in summer or winter.”  He expressed his respect for the European Football Union announcement of supporting the recommendation of the Special Task Force of the International Federation of 2022 due in Qatar.

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