Plans for the Qatar World Cup in 2022 have once again sparked controversy. FIFA – football’s governing body – has backtracked on comments by its secretary general Jerome Valcke who told one media outlet the finals would not be played in the summer months.
In a statement FIFA said Valcke was expressing “his view”. It added the precise date was still subject to an ongoing consultation process and added that a decision will not be rushed for an event which will not be played for another eight years.
It confirmed no dates will be announced before this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
In an interview with radio station France Inter, Valcke had 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 favourable.
“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.
FIFA VP Boyce shocked
FIFA vice president Jim Boyce said he was very surprised by the timing of Valcke’s announcement.
“I am totally shocked to be honest,” he told Sky Sports News.
“The situation, as far as I’m aware, is that the FIFA executive committee was awaiting a report set up by all the stakeholders involved in the World Cup – television companies, leagues, sponsors – meeting between now and the World Cup in Brazil.
“The plan was that there would be no further discussion on the World Cup in Qatar until December at the end of this year.
“Whether Jerome was making a personal opinion or not I just don’t know, but I can confirm this has not been discussed by the FIFA executive committee. I am very surprised about what has happened this morning.
“100 per cent I can confirm that the FIFA executive committee has not decided to move the World Cup.
“The decision would not be taken until the end of 2014, or at the March 2015 meeting of the executive committee.”
Although it would not be a surprise if the finals were to be held in the winter months, it would mean a massive disruption to the global football calendar and also affect other sports.
Controversy has surrounded the decision to give Qatar the finals since the day it was made and clearly shows no signs of abating even with the tournament more than eight years away.