FIFA have finally made their mind up. They want a winter World Cup in 2022 in Qatar.
After the final meeting of the special task force set up to to deal with the issues hosting a World Cup in Qatar have thrown up, FIFA executives and the six confederations across world soccer agreed that hosting the 2022 World Cup in November-December is the most viable option.
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In a statement released on FIFA’s website, they had the following to say about the decision to disrupt the soccer season’s across Europe and beyond in 2022.
“FIFA’s Task Force for the International Match Calendar 2018-24 held its third and final meeting today [Tuesday] in Doha, identifying end-November/end-December as the most viable period for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”
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With up to 80 Premier League games set to be impacted, plus a similar number in all of the big European leagues and other countries around the world, this recommendation will have a huge impact on the schedule of the 2021-22 and 2022-23 domestic campaigns. If the proposal is passed, the 2022 World Cup will kick off on Nov. 19 and run until Dec. 23, when the World Cup final will be played. However, having the final two days before Christmas Day will likely change, with FIFA offering up Dec. 18, 2022 as an alternative which also happens to be Qatar National Day.
The task forced was chaired by Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President and FIFA Executive Committee member Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa. He claimed that the Confederations Cup in 2021 could be held in another AFC country in their region due to the heat in Qatar during June/July when the Confederations Cup (a tournament traditionally used as a warm up for the upcoming World Cup host nation) is usually held.
“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 football in general,” Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said. “It was a challenging task and I want to thank all members of the football community for their productive input and constructiveness in helping to find a solution that we believe can work for everyone.”
What happens now? FIFA’s Executive Committee will discuss the proposal at their next meeting in Zurich on 19 and 20 March 2015 and will then rubber-stamp it. During the meetings in Doha, it was revealed that domestic leagues still shared their unrest and various reservations towards a winter World Cup. As for FIFA, their ExCo members stated that holding the event in November-December was the only option due to the timing of the 2022 Winter Olympics in either Almaty or Beijing in February 2022. The task force has also stated that the length of the World Cup should be shorter in Qatar, with the number of venues also set to be cut back, and ruled out April 2022 as it would coincide with Ramadan.
It is now expected that league’s in Europe and elsewhere will work on getting as much compensation from FIFA as possible for having to disrupt their traditional season to accommodate a winter World Cup in 2022. With Qatar recently being cleared of any corruption during the bidding process back in 2010 for the right to host the 2022 World Cup, there’s not much else to sort out.
A winter World Cup in Qatar is all but confirmed, as the decision to host the 22nd edition of the tournament outside the summer window for the first time in history will have huge ramifications and cause plenty of disruption for the rest of the soccer community.