After meeting in Zurich on Thursday, FIFA’s Executive Committee has agreed that the 2022 World Cup final in Qatar will take place on Dec. 18 and have therefore rubber-stamped the first-ever winter World Cup will take place seven years from now.
The decision comes just weeks after current FIFA president Sepp Blatter confirmed to journalists that he wanted the World Cup final to take place at least a week before Christmas Day.
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Initially it had been proposed that the final for the 2022 tournament in Qatar would take place on Dec. 23 but domestic league’s, who are already at odds with FIFA over staging a winter World Cup in Qatar in the first place, stepped in to oppose the plans of having the World Cup coincide with the festive period.
The tournament will now likely run from Nov. 20 to Dec. 18 and be 28 days long instead of the usual 32 but that is yet to be confirmed. Dec. 18, the day of the final, is a national holiday in Qatar.
FIFA confirmed the initial reports of a Dec. 18 final after a three-and-a-half hour meeting in Zurich, as the finer details of hosting a winter World Cup in the Middle East continue to be ironed out by the ExCo.
The 2022 World Cup heading to Qatar is still fiercely opposed by many as labor laws involving migrant workers are under scrutiny, plus the extreme heat and other infrastructure issues in the tiny nation with only one major city, Doha.
Between now and the tournament beginning there will be plenty of other tough decisions to be made, but things are starting to take shape.