Following a meeting of key football officials in Doha, FIFA has made an announcement today (24 February 2015) recommending that, given the extreme high temperatures in Qatar in summer months, November and December is the most sensible period in which to hold the World Cup tournament in 2022. This announcement follows a six month consultation carried out by FIFA’s Task Force.

Sheikh Salman said: “We are very pleased that, after careful consideration of the various opinions and detailed discussions with all stakeholders, we have identified what we believe to be the best solution for the 2018-2024 international match calendar and football in general. It was a challenging task and I want to thank all members of the football community for their productive input and constructiveness in helping to find a solution that we believe can work for everyone.”

Compared with plus 40 degree heat in the summer months, the winter months see thermometers at a more balmy 25-30 degrees. These are still temperatures that most English folk would long for from a British summer, but tournament organisers have already indicated that they propose to utilise air-cooling technology to lower temperatures to a more manageable 23 degrees in the grounds.

Other date options that were considered included a period in May and a window in January/February. These dates were rejected because the weather in May in Qatar is still extremely hot and the January/February window would have meant a clash with the Winter Olympics. Indeed FIFA’s announcement will no doubt be gratefully received by the IOC, and those of us who were gripped to the TV during the most recent Sochi winter games.

What remains to be seen is the impact that this scheduling will have on national and international football calendars including UEFA competitions and national leagues in Europe; the dates for the 2018-2024 seasons of the international calendar will not be confirmed until the World Cup dates are settled.  

These proposals will be discussed at the next meeting of FIFA’s Executive Committee which is scheduled to take place on 19 and 20 March 2015 in Zurich.