FIFA president Sepp Blatter has given the strongest indication to date that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be played during the summer.
Concerns over extreme temperatures in the Gulf region, which can rise up to 50 degrees centigrade in July, led to suggestions that the tournament could be staged in winter.
Despite the ramifications staging a tournament at that time of the year would have on the scheduling of the major domestic European leagues and Uefa competitions, Blatter himself entertained the proposal last December at the Club World Cup, saying: “I definitely support the idea to play in winter here [in the Middle East], when the climate is appropriate.”
But Blatter appears to have performed something of a u-turn, confirming that putting on a traditional summer World Cup is firmly on the governing body’s agenda.
“I think for the time being this matter is on ice. We have just signed the final documents and the delegation from Qatar was here in Fifa House, and everything is settled now, but it’s settled for summer and all the 64 matches in the territory of Qatar.”