Qatar World Cup 2022 final to be held on Dec 18
FIFA confirms winter World Cup for Qatar, tournament will be held over 28 days
The Qatar World Cup will be held in the Middle East winter, with the final match taking place on December 18 2022, FIFA has confirmed.
According to a report carried by newswire Reuters, FIFA spokesman Walter De Gregorio said the winter tournament would probably last 28 days, instead of the 32 for last year's finals in Brazil, but this was still to be decided.
"The executive committee today ... decided that, yes, we are going to play in November and December and, yes, the final is going to be played on Dec. 18," De Gregorio told reporters at FIFA headquarters.
"It's a Sunday and it's also the national day of Qatar and, in principle, we try to play in 28 days.
"The next steps will be to have different talks especially related to the match calendar," he added, referring to the 2019-22 cycle of international fixtures and the 2023 African Nations Cup in Guinea that is scheduled to be played in January.
The news was not entirely unexpected. A task force set up to look at scheduling of the tournament announced last month that it recommended holding the event in November/December.
European clubs are strongly opposed to the move because it affects their own leagues and competitions – but FIFA has shot down any suggestion that they will be compensated.
The organisation's secretary general Jerome Valcke last month told reporters that no payments would be made by FIFA at all.
"There will be no compensation. I mean, they have seven years to reorganise football around the world for this World Cup," he said.
"It's not perfect, we know that, but why are we talking about compensation? It's happening once, we're not destroying football.
"Why should we apologise to the clubs? We have had an agreement with the clubs that they are part of the beneficiaries. It was $40m (£25.8m) in 2010 and $70m (£45m) in 2014."
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore told the BBC that “It’s the European leagues that are suffering the most.”
"Our particular concern is that a World Cup that finishes late in December could result in damaging one of the English game's great traditions and attractions, with the removal of the entire Premier League, Football League and FA Cup Christmas and New Year fixture programme that season,” he added.
Valke also said that the World Cup final was looking likely on 23 December 2022. Uefa and other confederations are keen on the idea – but 18 December 2022 was also a possibility.
He also said the tournament would run for 28 days instead of the usual 31-32 days, meaning more games would be played per day.
Qatar, meanwhile, is projected to spend well over $70bn on transport and infrastructure projects over the next seven years as it builds towards the Cup. Independent estimates pin to total cost of construction projects and other preparations for the event – the first of its kind in the Middle East – at around $200bn.