ZURICH, March 20 – FIFA’s executive committee began a two-day meeting on Thursday where they were expected to decide the dates for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, ending a saga that has lasted for more than four years. The committee is expected to ratify a recommendation from a FIFA task force to stage the tournament in November and December to avoid the searing summer temperatures in the Gulf state, with an announcement to be made on Friday. Qatar were awarded the 2022 finals in December 2010 on the basis it would take place in the summer in air-conditioned stadiums.
But within days Franz Beckenbauer, an executive committee member at the time, and UEFA president Michel Platini suggested a winter World Cup would be possible. Despite worries from powerful European clubs, the idea gained momentum and worldfootball’s ruling body FIFA set up its task force in September 2013 to decide when the finals should take place. At its third and last meeting in February the task force agreed November and December would be the most suitable months and recommended that it be shortened by a few days, giving teams less recovery time between matches. The decision has set FIFA on a collision course with the European clubs who had suggested staging the tournament in May.
The European Clubs Association (ECA), which represents more than 200 teams, said it would demand compensation for having to alter the domestic season. Platini, president of Europeanfootball’s ruling body, was unsympathetic however. “There are many leagues, many players, many clubs. When it is winter it is summer in other parts of the world,” he said. “I always said it will be a winterWorld Cup. I always said I’ll vote forQatar but do my best for winter. I am totally coherent with what I said four years ago. I vote for what I am convinced is good for foot ball.”