Fifa task force recommends shorter World Cup for Qatar 2022

Tournamnent looks set for controversial November/December commencement

The 2022 world cup in Qatar will be shortened and held in Winter if FIFA accepts its own task force's recommendations. Video: Reuters

 

A Fifa task force has recommended playing the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in November/December but Britain’s Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce will oppose any move to hold the final as late as December 23rd.

The task force announced its recommendation for a “late November to late December” winter World Cup following a meeting in Doha, and also said that the tournament should be shortened.

The recommendations will be taken to Fifa’s executive committee meeting in Zurich on March 19th and 20th for a final decision on the dates.

Boyce, from Northern Ireland, said moving the World Cup to the winter was a “common sense” decision but that a final on December 23d, which is reportedly one of the options, would be too close to Christmas and the traditional festive matches.

Boyce added; “I think that is too close to Christmas — that’s the only reservation I would have and I would like it a week earlier, but I want to wait until the Fifa executive committee meeting to hear all the details about the dates.

“I welcome the fact all the stakeholders have been involved and although this is not going to please everyone I think common sense has prevailed.

Second Captains

“It will cause a lot of disruption but it is eight years away and people should have enough time to make it work.”

A Fifa statement confirmed the task force had recommended a shorter tournament in November and December. January/February was ruled out because of the Winter Olympics, Ramadan made April unavailable, while the climate blocked the World Cup being played between May and September.

It said: “The outcome of the discussions is also a proposed reduced competition days schedule with the exact dates to be defined inline with the match schedule and number of venues to be used for the 22nd edition of football’s flagship event.

“The proposed event dates have the full support of all six confederations. The proposal will be discussed at the next meeting of the Fifa executive committee.”

The statement said the task force was exploring the option of staging the Confederations Cup in another Asian confederation country during the traditional June/July window in 2021, and using another Fifa competition such as the Club World Cup as the operational test event for Qatar in November/December 2021.

Task force chairman Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said: “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.

“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.”

The leagues and clubs had pushed for a May/June tournament but that was ruled out on grounds of heat, but they are expected to push for a reduced preparation period beforehand and a cut in the number of international dates during the season.“

Uefa, who have had their differences with Fifa of late, has said it supported the recommendation made by the task force. A statement on their behalf reads: “Uefa believes that — for the benefits of players and fans — the event should be played in winter and now awaits the final decision from the Fifa executive committee meeting.

“Uefa sees no major issues in rescheduling its competitions, should the proposal be approved, and Uefa acknowledges that the competition may be shortened and thus that the release period of players be reduced.”

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