LONDON COLNEY NEAR LONDON, UK (FEBRUARY 24, 2015) (REUTERS) – Holding the 2022 World Cup in the northern hemisphere autumn and winter makes sense, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said on Tuesday (February 24).
A FIFA Task Force examining dates for the Qatar World Cup has recommended the Gulf state hosts a shorter tournament, staged over the cooler months of November and December 2022.
Asian Football Confederation head Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa told reporters in Doha on Tuesday that those dates would be put to FIFA’s executive committee to be ratified next month.
It is a move sure to set world soccer’s governing body on a collision course with the major European leagues which would prefer an April-May option to minimise disruption to their lucrative domestic programmes.
Speaking at the club training ground near London on the eve of Arsenal’s Champions League match against Monaco, Wenger told a news conference:
“It’s impossible to play in the summer. I think it makes sense, if you want people to survive at the games it’s the only way to do it in a decent way, a comfortable way for the supporters. I think the players don’t worry but for the supporters it’s the only way, it’s the right decision.
“Of course, everybody will have to re-organise their fixtures and their season, that will not be easy. I’m not a specialist of fixture organisations but I’m conscious that will be in the middle of the season for the Premier League.”
Soccer World Cups have always been staged over May, June and July since the first in Uruguay in 1930.
June and July are not viable for Qatar, where temperatures routinely exceed 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), and the working group’s proposals would see the 2022 World Cup final contested a couple of days before Christmas.
There are no plans to reduce the size of the tournament from 32 teams or 64 matches, but the plan is for the competition to be shortened by a matter of days.