2022 World Cup final no later than Dec. 18, says Blatter

FIFA president Sepp Blatter says the World Cup final in Qatar in 2022 should be played no later than December 18.

CRAIGAVAD, NEAR BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FEBRUARY 27, 2015) (REUTERS) – The World Cup final in Qatar in 2022 should be played no later than December 18, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Friday (February 27).

Blatter, who arrived in Northern Ireland for this weekend’s International Football Association Board (IFAB) meeting, said he would propose that idea to the FIFA executive committee when it meets next month.

UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, said this week that it wanted the World Cup to start on November 26 and end on December 23, two days before Christmas.

“Listen, it’s not the first day I’ve said. It is more than one year and a half ago that we cannot play in summer. Now, this working group or task force they come with this proposal. It will be presented to the FIFA ExCo (Executive Committee). No doubt the FIFA ExCo will make the decision that we will play (in) November (and) December,” Blatter told reporters near Belfast.

“No, no we have to stop at the 18th. No, no, no. I am against that we go to the 23rd.”

FIFA’s Task Force, meeting in Doha to decide on the time of year the World Cup can be held in Qatar, proposed on Tuesday (February 24) holding the tournament in November and December due to the extreme heat in June and July when soccer’s showpiece event usually takes place.

It is inconceivable that that recommendation will not be ratified when the FIFA executive committee meets next month when it will also finalise the dates the tournament will start and finish.

The most vociferous reaction to staging a winter World Cup came from Europe’s major clubs and, in particular, the English Premier League.

“They are not so furious; they are not so very happy, and it’s so good now to make a little bit (of) noise about FIFA and about the World Cup in Qatar, Blatter said. “But finally, now there is more than six years, particularly seven years and where there is a good will, there will be a solution and I am sure, I am sure everyone will be fine at the end,” said Blatter.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the chairman of the European Clubs Association, called for clubs to be compensated as a result of their season’s being interrupted, but Blatter confirmed what his secretary general Jerome Valcke said earlier.

“I don’t think why they should (be compensated),” Blatter said. “OK, this is a problem that we have not now discussed in depth but definitely we are in contact. I have been personally in contact with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge before this decision to see how a solution can be found and I repeat where there is a good will there will be a solution.

“The reaction negative or not, this is football. Naturally the European clubs, they are not so happy but why they shouldn’t be happy. They should also be in solidarity, this is the important thing. What we need in FIFA is unity and solidarity and here we have to play a little bit of solidarity.”

Blatter’s term as FIFA president comes to an end at the end of May and he is up for re-election.

When asked if the situation regarding the 2022 Qatar World Cup was embarrassing to FIFA, Blatter said: “Look at me I am the head, still until the 29th of May and no, no this is football. There is discussions and there are problems and the problems are to be solved. Thank you very much for this reception.”

Blatter is in Belfast for the annual meeting of IFAB, soccer’s ultimate law-making body.