‘Winter’ World Cup for Qatar, says Jerome Valcke

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be played in the European winter, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke told a French radio station, CNN reports. “It will be played between November 15 and January 15 at the latest. If it’s played between November 15 and the end of December, that is when the weather is most favorable,” Valcke, who is Sepp Blatter’s deputy, told France Info.
The tournament is traditionally held between June and July, but concerns have been raised over the potential health risks of staging a World Cup during the intense heat of a Qatari summer. “You’re playing in temperatures that are equivalent to a hot spring in Europe,” added Valcke, “so playing in an average temperature of 25 degrees, perfect for playing football.”
A final decision on the scheduling of the 2022 tournament will not be made until the FIFA Executive Committee meeting which will take place in Zurich, Switzerland between March 21 and 22.
If the World Cup was to be held between November and January, it would create a logistical headache for many major European football leagues and also the continent’s prestigious Champions League competition.
Valcke’s comments came as a shock to his colleagues within football’s corridors of power. “As far as I’m concerned I am totally surprised by the news today,” FIFA vice president Jim Boyce told CNN. “I had been told that the FIFA Executive Committee is awaiting results of a working party on this issue. I was told no announcement on this would be made until after the World Cup in Brazil.” The tournament in Brazil will take place this year between June 12 and July 13.

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