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FIFA split over Qatar World Cup dates

Secretary-general hints at move away from summer dates but vice-president denies any decision has been reached.

Last updated: 08 Jan 2014 21:22
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FIFA has played down claims from its secretary-general that the 2022 World Cup to take place in Qatar will not be held in the summer.

The announcement by Jerome Valcke in an interview to France Inter Radio on Wednesday caught some of his own colleagues by surprise.

The tournament's scheduling has been debated since the controversial decision in 2010 to award the tournament to the Gulf Arab state.

Temperatures in Qatar can reach up to 50C in June and July - the traditional dates for the event.

"Frankly, I think it will happen between November 15 and the end of December because that is when the weather is more favourable. It’s more like springtime in Europe," Valcke said.

In response, Jim Boyce, FIFA vice-president, told Sky Sports News he was "shocked" and "surprised" by Valcke's comments, saying that a decision was yet to be made by the FIFA executive committee.

"It absolutely has not been decided as far as the executive committee are concerned," Boyce said.

"It was agreed all the stakeholders should meet, all the stakeholders should have an input and then the decision would be made, and that decision as far as I understand will not be taken until the end of 2014 or the March executive meeting in 2015.

"As it stands it remains in the summer with no decision expected until end of 2014 or March 2015."

In October, FIFA delayed making a decision on whether to play the tournament in the winter, saying it was setting up a consultation process to decide when the finals should be held.

At the time, it announced it would reach a conclusion some time after this year's World Cup in Brazil.

Qatar was originally awarded the tournament ahead of the US, South Korea, Japan and Australia. Its bid was based on a summer World Cup, despite the searing temperatures.

Qatar has argued all along that it will build air-conditioned stadiums using environmentally sustainable technology. However, there have been concerns for visiting fans and about training facilities for teams.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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