Fifa quashes talk of winter World Cup

Fifa today announced there is no certainty the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be staged in winter.

The high temperatures in Qatar during summer months has led to talk of the tournament being moved to a cooler time of year.

That has in turn caused concern for domestic leagues which would see their seasons interrupted by the unusual positioning of the tournament in the football calendar.

Fifa today clarified their position, stressing Qatar would have to make the first move if the 2022 tournament is to take place in winter.

A Fifa statement said: "At this stage there are no concrete plans to change the international match calendar.

"Any potential move of the 2022 Fifa World Cup from a summer to a winter period would have to be initiated by the football association of Qatar and would have to be presented to the Fifa executive committee."

Fifa president Sepp Blatter said at the start of this month that he anticipated the 2022 World Cup would be held in January instead of June.

Blatter said: "I expect it will be held in the winter. We have time to look at this question, it is still 11 years away but we must decide the most adequate period for a successful World Cup which means January or the end of the year.

"When you play football you must protect the main people, the players."

Summer temperatures in Qatar can soar to more than 50 degrees Celsius while those in the winter months are far more comfortable.

The proposal attracted criticism from, among others, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who said: "It looks like an idea that has come out of nowhere because nobody was told that when the bid was voted for.

"That is a bit of a surprise and certainly it would mean that the whole world of football has to be reorganised.

"It would demand a complete reorganisation of the whole world's fixtures and I cannot see that happening."

FA general secretary Alex Horne said last week: "The notion of playing in Qatar just leaves me in a cold sweat at the moment.

"It doesn't feel like a great experience for the fans. The whole thing is odd, let me just say that.

"It will do all sorts of odd things, won't it, because you need to find nine or 10 weeks across the winter.

"It's going to split the season and you'll need to start early or finish late."

The Asian Football Confederation president Mohammed Bin Hammam, who hails from Qatar, has already dismissed the prospect of a winter World Cup.

Speaking last week, Bin Hammam said: "We are not interested (in moving the World Cup) - we are very happy and we are promising the world that we are going to organise an amazing World Cup in June and July."