FIFA walks back comments on a change of timing for the 2022 World Cup

by  — 8 January 2014

Earlier in the day FIFA's general secretary Jerome Valcke caused a stir when he told Radio France that, "the dates for the World Cup (in Qatar) will not be June-July." It has since emerged that no final decision has been made on the dates for the 2022 World Cup to be held in Qatar.

Valcke’s comments were taken by many in the media as a confirmation of a decision expected to be made by FIFA on whether the tournament would be moved. FIFA was quick to deny any decision had been made.

James M. Dorsey, a journalist and author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer told The Edge that, “Valcke’s comments are the first by a FIFA official suggesting that the group has more or less decided to move the date of the 2022 World Cup from summer to winter. He has however not provided specific dates nor is there an official statement by FIFA.”

Jim Boyce, FIFA vice president, told Sky Sports News that an official decision would not be made until, “at the very earliest, the end of 2014,” which would be after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil adding, “I’m totally surprised by what I’ve heard this morning.”

“One has to treat Valcke’s comment as an indication and preliminary,” said Dorsey, “from Qatar’s point of view, summer or winter does not matter. Whatever consequences there may be, would have to be borne by FIFA not Qatar.” As previously mentioned in The Edge those who lost the 2022 bid could seek to legally nullify the 2010 FIFA vote on the grounds that Qatar had not fulfilled its original bid criteria. Dorsey, however, believed the two largest problems would lie with the sponsors and the broadcasters on the assumption that the ultimate winter date for the tournament will be chosen so as to minimise disruption of European leagues. “One would assume that a final decision would be taken in consultation with all stakeholders in a bid to reduce the risk of litigation or contract cancellation,” he said.

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