The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will not be played in June and July due to high summer temperatures but instead will likely take place six months later, FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke said Wednesday.
"I think it'll be played between Nov. 15 and Jan. 15, (2023)," the FIFA No. 2 told the France Info radio station in an interview.
FIFA launched a consultation process late last year with all main event stakeholders concerning the possibility of holding the 2022 tournament in the winter, given that summer temperatures in Qatar can climb to 50 C (122 F) and environmental groups oppose the use of state-of-the-art air conditioning systems to cool the stadiums.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter had earlier expressed support for holding that year's World Cup in the winter months, although he wanted to gauge the opinion of the global soccer community before making a final decision.
"We have to discuss this matter with everyone involved because switching the finals from summer to winter implies changing the (soccer) calendar in leagues across the world," Blatter said in November in Abu Dhabi.
Qatar 2022 General Secretary Hassan al-Thawadi said last November that the Arab country was prepared to host the competition in either the winter or summer months and would accept whatever decision FIFA hands down.
Qatar has been a controversial choice as a World Cup host country.
In addition to the concerns about high summer temperatures, France Football magazine accused Qatar of "buying" the right to host the tournament and Britain's The Guardian newspaper released a report alleging that immigrants building new infrastructure for the event were working under conditions tantamount to slavery. EFE