Qatar World Cup will take place in winter, says Fifa chief
But announcement from Jerome Valcke may need formal approval from governing body
FIFA appears to have confirmed what many had long suspected: that the controversial Qatar World Cup in 2022 will not be played in the summer.
Jermome Valcke, general secretary of football's governing body, made the announcement in an interview with Radio France.
"The dates for the World Cup will not be June to July," he said. "I think it will be held between 15 November and 15 January at the latest."
He explained that between those dates "the weather is at its most favourable... you play with a temperature of 25 degrees, which is perfect to play football".
There has been speculation that the tournament would have to be rescheduled away from its usual spot during the European summer ever since it was awarded to Qatar, because of the intense heat in the Gulf state, where temperatures can soar to 50C in June and July.
Many believe a switch was inevitable, but plans to change the dates appeared to have been put on hold until after the Brazil World Cup this summer when some senior Fifa members, including Uefa president Michel Platini, opposed plans to confirm the move at a meeting in October.
"The move has long been expected but will have a huge impact on the sport’s calendar, with many domestic competitions around the world including the Premier League forced to move to accommodate the event," says The Times.
By hosting the event at the end of the year Fifa can avoid a clash with the 2022 Winter Olympics and the NFL Super Bowl in February, which would have had an impact on TV deals in the US. ·