A FIFA task force has recommended that the 2022 World Cup be set for the winter months of November and December. The 2022 World Cup is to take place in Qatar, which is known to have extraordinarily hot summers.
FIFA officials met in Doha to discuss a number of alternatives to hosting the World Cup in the summer, as the weather in Qatar may endanger the players’ and fans’ health. After a lot of discussion, the recommendation seems to be to change the World Cup to the winter time, when Qatar’s temperatures will be around 25 degrees Celsius instead of the 40 degrees Celsius in the summer.
Some of the reasons for having the World Cup in November and December include the fact that a January and February tournament would clash with the 2022 Winter Olympics. Additionally, the month of Ramadan begins in April, which is a holiday that is widely celebrated across Qatar. Sheikh Salman of Qatar said, “We are very pleased that, after careful consideration of the various opinions and detailed discussions with all stakeholders, we have identified what we believe to be the best solution for the 2018-2024 international match calendar and football in general.”
This schedule change will definitely affect a lot of the leagues in Europe. Most leagues would be well into the season by November. With such imminent disruptions, there are potential boycotts being organized. Frederic Thiriez, president of the French football league and the European Professional Football Leagues, described it as “probably the most terrible decision” for domestic competitions. He also says, “I don’t want to threaten or say we will do this or that. Let’s wait for the final decision on 19 March. Then we will see what we’ll do. Everybody’s trying to find a solution. I’m trying to defend the interests of the leagues in Europe.”
Overall, this is definitely in uncharted water and both fans and players will be nervously waiting to see how this pans out. Will the domestic leagues have to change their schedules drastically? Will there be potential protests against this move? How will this affect international games, such as the Champions League? There are many questions that have yet to be answered by this proposal.