Qatar World Cup dates controversy sparked after FIFA official says it won’t happen in summer

By Daniel S Levine,

The FIFA World Cup tournaments typically take place during the summer, but the organization’s general secretary stirred controversy by suggesting that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar might happen in the winter. However, the organization stressed that no decision has been made on the tournament, which is eight years away.

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke told French radio station France Info that the Qatar World Cup should be scheduled between November 15 and January 15, not in June and July of 2022. “If it's played between November 15 and the end of December, that is when the weather is most favorable,” Vackle said, notes CNN.

“You're playing in temperatures that are equivalent to a hot spring in Europe,” Vackle said of the winter dates, “so playing in an average temperature of 25 degrees (Celsius) ... perfect for playing football.”

BBC Sport reports that FIFA president Sepp Blatter has also suggested November to December dates, but a spokesperson for the organization said that there hans’t been any firm decisions.

“The precise event date is still subject to an ongoing consultation process which involves all main event stakeholders, including both the international football community - Fifa confederations, member associations, leagues, clubs, players - as well as Fifa's commercial partners,” the spokesperson said. FIFA won’t make a final decision until after the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.

Meanwhile, the Qatar World Cup Committee assured that the country “will be ready to host the World Cup regardless of the outcome of the consultation.”

The comments from Vackle caught some football fans and even members of FIFA completely off guard. The FIFA Executive Committee will be holding a meeting at the Zurich headquarters in March.

The Brazil World Cup is scheduled for June 12 to July 13.

image: Wikimedia Commons



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