24 Feb 2015

Fifa panel wants shorter Qatar World Cup – in winter

The controversial 2022 World Cup in Qatar receives a makeover from a task force at football’s world governing body Fifa, which recommends playing the tournament in November and December.

Fifa’s executive committee will meet in Zurich on 19 and 20 March to make a final decision on whether to re-shape and reschedule the tournament.

A Fifa task force today recommended that the 2022 World Cup should be played between the end of November and end of December that year as “the most viable period” for the tournament.

Qatar was awarded the tournament in 2010, but the decision has proved controversial due to searing temperatures in the country.

Fifa President Sepp Blatter has admitted that holding the tournament in Qatar during summer would be a mistake due to the heat players would face.

Summer temperatures in can exceed 40C, meaning a November-December tournament was far preferable, with temperatures in the mid-20s.

Shorter tournament

Fully air-conditioned stadiums have mooted for the all-new venues planned by Qatar. There have also been doubts about whether enough local fans would attend the globe’s leading football event.

The task force has also recommended the World Cup should be shortened in compensation for moving the tournament to the winter to avoid the fierce heat of June and July.

Despite shortening the tournament, there are no plans to cut back the number of teams from 32, or reduce the planned 64 matches.

Some European leagues are concerned their own competitions will be heavily disrupted by the plans, and had preferred a tournament in April and May.

January and February had also been considered as a new date for the tournament but that appears to have been ruled out due to a clash of dates with the Winter Olympics.

Fifa said the proposed event dates have “the full support” of all six confederations that comprise the governing body.