Fifa expected to confirm dates for Qatar World Cup
Tournament in 2022 set to be shorter and conclude one week before Christmas in Doha
Fifa president Sepp Blatter has had to placate a number of national associations over the scheduling of the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar. Photograph: Reuters.
Members of Fifa’s executive committee meet over the next two days in Zurich where they are set to rubber stamp proposals for a slightly shortened 2022 World Cup which be staged in winter and, it is now envisaged, wrap up a week before Christmas.
Having spent several months behind the scenes negotiating a way out of the mess it created for itself with the decision to award Qatar the tournament in the first place more than four years ago, Sepp Blatter and co are expected to present a tournament schedule at this meeting which they believe can actually be delivered.
Jim Boyce, whose term as a Fifa vice president is approaching its end, said recently that: “We are where we are with the damn thing. I’ve only one more executive committee meeting after next week to go, and it would be nice now if the thing was put to bed.”
Getting it there is, however, expected to be hugely costly with broadcasters, sponsors and clubs all having to be placated in one way or another although the organisation provided a signal of intent on that front when it revealed that broadcasters Fox and Telemundo had been awarded hugely lucrative rights to major American markets for the 2026 tournament, which is expected to be staged in that part of the world, without a tendering process.
Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke reacted to the ECA’s position by saying there would be no increase in compensation as a result of any switch of the Qatar dates but that always seemed unrealistic, especially when Sepp Blatter’s bid for re-election is looming.
The game’s governing body divided a little over €60 million amongst clubs as payment for the participation of their players in Brazil last year and with Uefa having reportedly committed to paying almost two and half times that figure for Euro 2016, a substantial rise was inevitable even without the shambles of the Qatar rescheduling.
The Fifa meeting will hear a report on yesterday’s World Cup Organising Committee from Uefa president Michel Platini before considering an item titled “Participation of clubs in Fifa World Cup,” with the actual dates for 2022 slightly further down an agenda on which Qatar generally is only 11th despite being the focus of almost all outside attention.
As heavily flagged last month in Doha, the tournament is expected to be shortened by a couple of days, most likely to 28 or 29 days, but the final is now likely to take place on or before December 18th with Blatter reportedly taking on board the widespread feeling that a proposal to stage the game on the 23rd was simply impractical.
Blatter was in Doha last weekend for meetings with leading members of the tournament’s Local Organising Committee when both the timing of the event and the rights of migrant workers currently building the infrastructure required for it are said to have been discussed.