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FIFA Panel Backs Winter World Cup In Qatar In 2022

An artist's impression of the Qatar Foundation Stadium, one of the venues for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. A FIFA task force recommended today that soccer's showcase tournament be played from late November to the end of December.
AP
An artist's impression of the Qatar Foundation Stadium, one of the venues for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. A FIFA task force recommended today that soccer's showcase tournament be played from late November to the end of December.

A panel within soccer's governing body has recommended that the FIFA World Cup in Qatar be played from late November to the end of December 2022, a period that coincides with the schedule of Europe's highly lucrative club season.

Soccer's World Cup is typically played over the summer, but temperatures in Qatar during that season can exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit — one reason cited by FIFA's Task Force in its recommendations made today at its meeting in Doha, the Qatari capital.

The task force, which is headed by Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, also recommended reducing the number of days over which the competition is played. The proposal will be discussed by FIFA's Executive Committee at its two-day meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, starting March 19. News reports say it is expected to be approved.

The proposal was expected, given the conditions in Qatar during the summer, and reaction to it bordered on resignation — despite its potential impact on the club season in Europe.

"I have said from the start we cannot possibly play in the summer in Qatar, it would be ridiculous to play then," said Greg Dyke, the head of Britain's Football Association. "The best option would be to not hold it in Qatar, but we are now beyond that so November/December would seem to be the best of the bad options. It will clearly disrupt the whole football calendar as it means club football stopping at the end of October."

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, chairman of the European Clubs Association, said he expected teams to be compensated for the change in schedules.

"We expect the clubs to be compensated for the damage that a final decision would cause," he said.

The FIFA task force statement noted the decision had the support of all six soccer confederations, including UEFA, the body that oversees the sport in Europe.

Qatar, as we have previously reported, was a controversial choice to host the 2022 World Cup; critics alleged corruption had a role in its winning bid. The country has also been criticized for the working conditions of laborers who are building the stadiums for the tournament.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.

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