PARIS: FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke has again indicated that the 2022 World Cup should be played in winter to avoid the blazing summer heat in Qatar.
“I think it has also been confirmed by other members of the executive committee that the World Cup would be played in winter,” he said in an interview with France-Info radio on Wednesday.
“Which part of the winter? Would it be the start of the year 2022 or the end? There is a task force which will meet in Doha in a few weeks to discuss this and then in March the FIFA executive committee should take a final decision on which period and the exact dates.”
He added: “The IOC (International Olympic Committee) is concerned over (a clash with) the 2022 Winter Olympics and we will take that into account. We will listen to the leagues, the clubs, the players, the medical commission, the whole world of football, but it is seven years away and we can live with that (a winter World Cup).”
The main objection to playing the tournament in high summer is that temperatures in the Gulf state frequently soar in the high 40s Celsius, making playing conditions difficult and raising health concerns.
In November, Valcke set up a working group to examine the question and spoke of two options, January to February and November to December, but said he had also asked FIFA to examine the possibility of the tournament going ahead in May 2022.
Last month, the European Clubs Association and European Professional Football Leagues indicated a strong preference for playing the World Cup from May to June 2022.
On Tuesday, a report by the Council of Europe called on FIFA to revote on the “radically flawed” decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
Damaging revelations concerning the bidding process mean that “FIFA cannot evade the obligation to hold a new vote,” according to the draft resolution by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
Since the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar in 2010, both the country and FIFA have been dogged by controversy.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter, however, insisted last month “it would really need an earthquake” to go back on the decision. (AFP)