24 Feb 2015

A Christmas World Cup? The key questions

A Fifa task force recommends playing the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in November and December, with the prospect of a 23 December final.

The task force has also recommended the World Cup should be shortened. Fifa’s executive committee meeting in Zurich on 19 and 20 March will make the final decision.

When will it be held?

If approved, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar could be staged between November and December. This means that the World Cup final could be played on 23 December – just two days before Christmas.

Why November/December?

Temperatures in Doha in the summer can hit the 40 degrees Celsius mark.

Fifa is also keen not to clash with the Winter Olympics. Almaty (Kazakhstan) and China (Beijing) pledged recently to host the winter games from 4 to 20 February 2022. The month of Ramadan also begins on 2 April in 2022.

For legal reasons, the 22nd edition of the World Cup must be played within the calendar year 2022.

How hot will it be?

In the hottest months of the year (between May and September) temperatures can reach as high as 41.5 degrees celsius in July. In the cooler months (December to March), temperatures vary between 21 degrees celsius in January to 26 degrees celsius in March.

Between November and December, when Fifa wants to hold the World Cup, temperatures can vary between 29 degrees celsius in November to 24 degrees celsius in December.

How many stadiums will be built?

There are said to be eight to 12 venues being built for the World Cup in Qatar. The Qataris have said they will build high-tech, air-conditioned stadia to keep temperatures at manageable levels. The planned Lusail stadium in northern Doha, where city ends and desert begins, is earmarked for the opening match and final.

What will happen to the Premier League?

The Premier League will most likely have to break for two months for the World Cup to be played. In 2014, a total of 110 players contracted to Premier League clubs were named in the final 23-man squads of the 32 competing nations.

The Premier League has recently signed announced its bumper £5bn deal for its UK television rights.

What about the Champions League?

Uefa believes that – for the benefit of players and fans – the event should be played in winter. Uefa also sees no major issues in rescheduling the Champions League, should the proposal be approved. However, it acknowledges that the competition may be shortened.

How many nations will be involved?

There are currently no plans to reduce the size of the tournament from 32 teams or 64 matches, but the tournament could be shortened by a matter of days.