FIFA moved quickly Wednesday to clarify a claim by its secretary general that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar would be moved to the winter months.
There was a bit of confusion after Jerome Valcke said that the tournament would be rescheduled from the summer months of high heat, but FIFA said that a decision will not be finalized until the 2014 World Cup in June.
“The dates for the World Cup [in Qatar] will not be June-July,” Valcke told Radio France. “To be honest, I think it will be held between Nov. 15 and Jan. 15 at the latest.
“If you play between Nov. 15 and the end of December, that’s the time when the weather conditions are best, when you can play in temperatures equivalent to a warm spring season in Europe, averaging 25 degrees. That would be perfect for playing football.”
Re-scheduling the tournament because of fears about the effects of the summer heat has been debated ever since it was awarded to Qatar in 2010, but FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce downplayed Valcke’s comments, saying that Valcke may have been merely expressing his opinion. “I was totally surprised this morning when I heard what Jerome has said,” he told the Telegraph. “As I understand it all the stakeholders will have discussions and report back to the executive committee of FIFA and no final decision will be made on when the 2022 World Cup would be played until December 2014 or March 2015. As far as I am concerned that remains the situation and there has been nothing said to me to make that any different.”
FIFA’s statement later indicated that Valcke was expressing “his view:”
“Secretary general Jerome Valcke explained today in the Radio France interview — as he had already mentioned previously — that in his view the 2022 FIFA World Cup must take place in winter and the best possible time frame would be 15 November to 15 January,” FIFA said in a statement.
“However, 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 (commercial affiliates and media rights licensees).
“As the event will not be played until eight years’ time the consultation process will not be rushed and will be given the necessary time to consider all of the elements relevant for a decision. Consequently, no decision will be taken before the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil as agreed by the FIFA Executive Committee.”