BALL’S world governing body Fifa has confirmed that the final of the controversial 2022 World Cup in Qatar is to be held on 18 December.
Fifa’s all-powerful executive committee yesterday met in Zurich to rubber-stamp the tournament schedule put forward by the organisation’s task force last month.
The World Cup is expected to start in late November and last for 28 days – three or four days less than usual – before culminating in a final on Qatar’s National Day.
“This is for us an important step,” said a Fifa spokesman. “Finally we know the end of the tournament. It’s a Sunday and, by the way, it's the national day in Qatar, so it fits perfectly.”
Europe’s leading clubs have previously demanded compensation over plans to move the tournament to winter in order to avoid 40C summer heat in the tiny Gulf state.
Staging the final a week before Christmas could mean England’s traditional Boxing Day programme remains intact, though the season could start in July and finish 12 months later to accommodate the World Cup.