The FIFA general secretary has claimed that the tournament won’t be held in the blazing heat of June or July, but FIFA insist a decision is yet to be made
FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke has claimed that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will not be held in June or July.
“The dates of the World Cup will not be in June or July. I think it will be played between November 15 and January 15 the latest,” Valcke told France Inter Radio.
“If you play between 15 November 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,” he added.
“That would be perfect for playing football.”
Qatar was awarded the 2022 tournament in 2010, but the extreme summer heat in the Arab state has been a major talking point, with player and fan safety questioned.
FA chairman Greg Dyke said last year that he believed the tournament would be moved to the winter, despite FIFA boss Sepp Blatter claiming it could not be held in January or February.
The decision will need to be ratified by the FIFA executive committee, of which Britain’s FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce is a member of and he was “totally surprised” at the statement.
He told Press Association Sport: “I was totally surprised this morning when I heard what Jerome has said.
“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.”
Boyce believes that Valcke “may have been stating his personal opinion”.
He also said there had been a general assumption that the 2022 World Cup could not be played in the summer due to the heat. That view has previously been expressed by UEFA’s 54 member countries and FIFA president Sepp Blatter but no decision on alternative dates has been taken.
“There is an expectation but there has been no decision,” said Boyce.
FIFA have since released a statement saying that this was Valcke’s own view and no decision has been taken on whether or not to move the tournament.
The statement read: “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.
“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.”