Valcke comments on 2022 World Cup timing stir controversy

Wed Jan 8, 2014 8:04am EST
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By Mike Collett

LONDON (Reuters) - An announcement from FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar would not be played in the summer created yet more controversy around the finals on Wednesday.

It led to a shocked response from FIFA vice president Jim Boyce who said that only the world governing body's executive committee could decide when the World Cup would be played.

In a later statement, FIFA backtracked on Valcke's comments which came in an interview with radio station France Inter.

Valcke said: "The dates of the World Cup will not be in June or July. I think it will be played between November 15 and January 15 at the latest.

"If you play between November 15 and, let's say, the end of December, it's the time when the weather is the most favorable.

"You play with a temperature equivalent to that of a rather hot spring in Europe, you play with a temperature of 25 degrees (Celsius), which is perfect to play football," he added.

The average temperature in the summer months in Qatar can be around 35C (95 Fahrenheit) and 45C (113F).

In a subsequent statement FIFA appeared to backtrack saying Valcke was giving "his view" that the 2022 World Cup must take place in winter and the best time would be November 15 to January 15.   Continued...

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke holds the slip showing "Iran" during the draw for the 2014 World Cup at the Costa do Sauipe resort in Sao Joao da Mata, Bahia state, December 6, 2013. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes