It’s official: Football’s governing body has decided to take the unprecedented step of moving the 2022 World Cup to the winter months to escape Qatar’s searing summer heat.
The tournament will now be played in November and December of 2022, ending with a final match on Qatar’s National Day, Dec. 18, FIFA confirmed today after its executive committee convened in Zurich.
BREAKING: The 2022 #WorldCup Final in Qatar will be played on 18 December pic.twitter.com/1UF6NKf25i
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) March 19, 2015
The BBC quoted a FIFA spokesman as saying:
“Finally we know the end of the tournament. It’s a Sunday and, by the way, it’s the national day in Qatar, so it fits perfectly…You have enough time to do your Christmas shopping.”
The announcement follows more than four years of speculation on the date for the tournament, which Qatar bid for on the basis of summer dates, but which has been long thought would be moved to cooler months.
A FIFA taskforce had already made a historic recommendation to move Qatar’s tournament from the games’ traditional June/July dates to November/December following a meeting last month.
However, at the time it stopped short of confirming specific dates for when the matches would take place.
In a statement today, FIFA spoke of a shortened timeline, but didn’t give an exact start date for the tournament yet:
“In principle, it was agreed that the tournament should be played over a reduced timeframe, for instance 28 days.
The working group for the international match calendar will meet in due course to finalise the international match calendar for the 2019-2022 cycle.”
In Qatar, where residents are very familiar with the painful summer heat, many expressed approval of FIFA’s decision. On Twitter, some said:
@dohanews a very wise decision! All the best Qatar. #WC2022 #Qatar
— Khanan (@alikhanan) March 19, 2015
Official / #Qatar2022 will be in winter with a final on #December 18th / on the #Qatar national day. Great news ! Mabrook
— Mazen Abd Rabbo (@MAbdRabbo) March 19, 2015
But abroad, many football fans have opposed the shift in the tournament dates because it would require adjusting the schedule of several European leagues.
Those frustrations were once again aired on Thursday as the news started to leak out.
Just announced… final of 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be on December 18. Just doesn't seem right.
— Edward McCann (@edwardlmccann) March 19, 2015
Gonna be real strange to watch a World Cup in the winter
— James Klonowski (@Jk2write) March 19, 2015
Imagine having a World Cup over Christmas. This goes against everything my brain says is right
— Robert T. Ramsey (@ShogunRok) March 19, 2015
There was also earlier opposition from US broadcaster Fox, which paid a record amount to carry the 2018 and 2022 World Cup matches. It was concerned a winter World Cup would conflict with its coverage of National Football League (NFL) games in the US.
However, FIFA is believed to have at least partially placated the US network’s concerns by awarding it the rights to broadcast the 2026 without allowing any competing bids.
Qatar was awarded summer 2022 tournament hosting rights even though bid evaluators flagged the country’s scorching summer heat as a hazard.
To help fans and players cope, local organizers proposed the development of a high-tech air conditioning system that would keep those within the stadiums cool.
It put its cooling technology on display last summer, albeit on a much smaller scale, at a fan zone in Katara set up for spectators watching football matches broadcast from the World Cup in Brazil.
However, even if the stadiums and fan zones were kept at a comfortable temperatures, there were still questions about how much tourists would enjoy their time visiting Qatar outside the official matches.
Local organizers told reporters during a press conference last month that it planned to continue to develop the cooling technology, which could be used in other applications such as greenhouses.
The Dilemma of celebrating either National day or the WC winner :p
My folder of “that was obvious” is now over flowing.
I don’t blame Qatar I blame FIFA. A disgusting mess.
I am not sure celebrating the national day and the WC final in the same day is a good idea. If Qatar wants to keep the National Day celebrations then it is going to be a security headache for both FIFA and the ND organizers.
I assume the cornish will be busy in that day
But if the football supporters try to go there without a family to watch, then they might get upset when turned away.
When they say single, they mean south Asian. Western to be turned away? … No point!
no Cornwall is quite an under-populated region,and I don’t think those guys have a national day
What could possibly go wrong?
The logical thing to have done would have been to hold the final on Saturday 17 December then have one big celebration on the Sunday to mark the end of the tournament and Qatar National Day. Missed opportunity.
Logical? Nope, that’s your opinion.
Did anyone factor in the fact that it is against the law in Qatar to serve alcohol on National Day? Will the finals be dry?
This is Qatar. Rules can be bent.
FIFA obviously expects Qatar to win the World Cup, so double celebration, no beer
ehhh who said “it’s against the Law to drink/serve alcohol on National Day”?? We always get served on National Day in any hotel… there’s no law stopping them!!
The entire bid was based on false promises. I wonder what Australia, Japan, South Korea and USA have to say about this – they might have been “offered” substantial concessions on gas and lucrative contracts but in the case of USA, unconditional support for the US armed forces in Qatar.
Well I am glad thats done and out of the way so they can get on with it.Fox etc. will be mad…but then just think of the traffic as school will be in full swing( as it may have for part of the June period as well,but this way no recourse….unless).
No worries, work and school will be cancelled so that Blatter and his gang can zip around in style
Yea, most likely send them home early.Bladder….he may not be in power by that time.I hear General Noriega will be up for parole by that time and is interested in running.
I’m sure the kids will be volunteering, joining some WC activity, or skipping school to see the matches anyway…Schools will probably close early to accommodate for all of that. Say hello to a longer academic year in 2022.
I look forward to land cruisers on two wheels driving recklessly across the grass of the final waving Qatari flags, shouting ‘reflect your respect’
…and tailgating and flashing lights at the golf cart that takes injured players off the pitch
That’s the spirit 🙂
Haters gonna hate.
That will keep the number of western fans down. It’s all worked out perfect in the end – for Qatar. The prostitution of football by the pimps of Zurich is complete.
They arent looking at western fans. They want it to be filled by the GCC ones. SO expect more 5 star hotels.
National day, Christmas or fifa. Decide any one
Does anyone know the daily capacity for the airport and if it can manage the volume of passengers departing from the WC on top of residents heading home for Christmas between the 19th & 24th December?