FIFA puts January World Cup back on agenda for 2022
By Brian Homewood
BERNE (Reuters) - FIFA has revived the possibility of staging the 2022 World Cup in January and February after president Sepp Blatter previously ruled out the idea last year.
Three possible time slots were discussed for the tournament as a FIFA task force, set up specifically to decide once and for all when the finals should take place, met for the first time at the headquarters of world soccer's governing body on Monday.
Qatar was awarded the World Cup on the widely held understanding that it would be staged in the summer despite the searing heat in the country.
Although Qatar has insisted that a summer World Cup is viable thanks to cooling technologies it is developing for stadiums, training areas and fan zones, there is still widespread concern over the health of the players and visiting supporters.
"Discussions centered around the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and participants were presented with information on the implications of staging the event in winter as opposed to summer, as proposed by the FIFA executive committee," FIFA said in a statement.
"FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke clarified that, based on the hosting agreement, the FIFA World Cup must be held in 2022.
"The options of January/February 2022 and November/December 2022 were put forward as alternatives to June/July 2022, and initial feedback received."
Last November, Blatter categorically ruled out a winter World Cup that could clash with the Winter Olympics. Continued...