Europe backs winter World Cup in 2022

The likelihood of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar being held in winter has increased, after UEFA’s 54 member associations backed the rescheduling of the tournament, BBC Sport has reported.

The prospect of a winter World Cup has long been a topic of debate, after Qatar beat off competition from the likes of Australia and the USA to win the rights to host the competition, with the decision being made in 2010.

Hassan al-Thawadi, who masterminded the victory, says that Qatar would be ready to host the event in summer of winter, but after Thursday’s meeting in Croatia, it looks set to go ahead in winter with the backing of Europe’s football leaders.

The reason for the proposed move is the heat of the Gulf state during the summer, with temperatures that can occasionally exceed 50 degrees. Despite Qatar insisting that their will be air-conditioning within each stadium, the concern has been for players and supporters outside of the games.

FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce said: “What has come out of this meeting is that the World Cup cannot be played in Qatar in the summer. Everyone was certainly in agreement about that.”

With that decision apparently made, the attention now turns to whether the tournament will be staged in January 2022, or in November or December of that year, with considerations to be made regarding the European club schedule, and UEFA’s members do not want any decision to be made in a hurry.

Boyce added: “There is still nine years to go and people feel FIFA should sit down with all the major stakeholders and come up with a solution that would cause the minimum disruption to football.

“There is plenty of time to do that in my opinion, and hopefully football will be the winner.”

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