Fifa delay decision to confirm 2022 World Cup switch, with task force to analyse moving the Qatar tournament to winter

The decision represents something of a U-turn for football's governing body

The controversial decision on whether to switch the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to winter will be postponed until a Fifa task force has reported on whether it is possible, it emerged today.

It was thought that a decision on moving the tournament, due to the searing summer heats in the Middle East, could be made this week at Fifa's executive meeting which began in Zurich today - but a remarkable U-turn has taken place.

Members of the 'Fifa family’, broadcasters and representatives of the European leagues will be part of the task force that analyse if such a switch is possible.

One highly placed Fifa source told the Evening Standard: “It was always media hype to expect the executive to come to such a decision this week without looking at all the consequences. The World Cup is nine years away and there is no need to rush to make a decision.

“Indeed the agenda for the meeting merely says we should ‘discuss’ the Qatar World Cup not whether we should move it. Indeed it is at the moment such low priority that it is item 25 in a 27-point agenda. So it is not even likely to be discussed today.”

Fifa continue to insist that the 2022 tournament will be staged in Qatar, however, the latest developments appear to suggest moving the tournament entirely remains a possibility.

The Evening Standard understands one reason for Fifa backing away from an immediate decision is that several television companies, particularly in North America, who have paid huge sums to broadcast the World Cup, have told Blatter that a winter tournament would not suit their schedules. A World Cup in late June and early July is ideal as it is the slack sports season for these broadcasters. Their agreement with Fifa is believed to include clauses which gives them the right to be consulted about the date.

Sepp Blatter is also well aware that the European leagues, led by the Premier League, are opposed to any winter World Cup due to the enormous disruption it would cause. The Fifa president is likely to present the decision to set up a task force as Fifa taking care to consult and not rushing into a judgement.

That there should be a postponement was publicly backed by Jim Boyce, from Northern Ireland, and the British representative on the Fifa executive.

He said: “I wouldn’t object to taking a decision on moving it in principle; I think nearly everybody is agreed on that. But I don’t think we can make any decision on the exact timing — should it be in November, January or whenever — until we have got everyone in the game around the table to find a solution.”

It has also found favour with Uefa president Michel Platini. The Frenchman, the only Fifa executive member to publicly disclose he voted for Qatar, has always argued it should be held in winter.

Yesterday, he said more pressing was the issue of the findings of an investigation which uncovered appalling treatment of migrant workers in Qatar.

“I’m much more concerned about that than the discussion about summer and winter,” he said. “There will be no decision. It is impossible.”

News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat