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Dublin: 12 °C Tuesday 21 May, 2019
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European countries agree that 2022 World Cup 'cannot be played in the summer'

UEFA’s members support proposal to move Qatar tournament to the cooler winter months.

Image: Frank Augstein/AP/Press Association Images

THE 2022 FIFA World Cup could take place in the winter after European football bosses agreed that a summer tournament cannot take place in Qatar.

UEFA’s member countries met in Croatia today and supported a proposal to move the football showpiece to a different time of year.

Temperatures in Qatar can reach up to 50°C in the summer months, sparking health and safety fears for players and fans. By comparison the average winter temperature is a much cooler 24°C

“What has come out of this meeting is an agreement by the UEFA countries that the World Cup cannot be played in Qatar in the summer,” FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce revealed.

“Everyone agreed on that.”

Bringing the tournament forward to January 2022 or pushing it back to November/December of that year are the most likely alternatives.

Boyce says that UEFA’s members want world governing body FIFA to speak to the game’s main stakeholders over when exactly the tournament should take place before announcing any alternative dates.

“We don’t want FIFA to make a decision yet about when exactly it will be played,” he told Sky Sports News.

We still have nine years to go and we think FIFA needs to help find a solution that will not cause too much disruption.

There is plenty of time to do that.

Qatar was awarded the right to host the tournament in 2010, but FIFA, UEFA and footballers’ union FIFPro have since called for it to be moved to a different time of year.

But proposals to change the date of the tournament have met with opposition from leading European clubs, who are concerned about disruption to their traditional calendars.

The chief executive of the money-spinning English Premier League, Richard Scudamore, has described the plans as “nigh-on impossible”.

Nonetheless, FIFA’s executive committee is expected to agree in principle to move the World Cup to the winter at a meeting in Zurich early next month.

© AFP, 2013

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