FIFA denies World Cup winter switch
No decision to be taken until after this year's World Cup in Brazil
FIFA has moved to distance itself from comments made by general secretary Jerome Valcke, who said yesterday the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will not be held in June and July but would best be held in the winter time.
Valcke told Radio France that the showpiece event would be switched to avoid the searing summer temperatures in Qatar.
But in a subsequent statement, world football's governing body insisted the Frenchman was merely giving his personal opinion on the matter and a decision was still to be made.
“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 commercial partners.
“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 World Cup Brazil as agreed by the FIFA Executive Committee.”
The scheduling of the tournament has been hotly debated ever since FIFA controversially awarded it to Qatar in December 2010, especially over fears that the summer heat in the Gulf emirate would be dangerous for players and fans alike.
"The dates for the World Cup (in Qatar) will not be June-July,” Valcke, the second most powerful man in international footbal’s governing body, said.
“To be honest, I think it will be held between November 15 and January 15 at the latest.
“If you play between November 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.”
World Cup organising committee officials in Qatar have insisted they were prepared for all eventualities concerning the 2022 showpiece.
In October FIFA said they would listen to the views of all concerned parties – players, clubs, leagues, federations and sponsors – with a view to taking a final decision on dates in December of this year.