World football authorities will not make a decision on whether to switch the Qatar 2022 World Cup to the cooler winter months until early in 2015, according to the head of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
Global organising body FIFA had previously said that a resolution to move the tournament from summer, where temperatures in the Gulf state can reach up to 50 degrees Celsius, would be made by the end of this year.
"There are a lot of partners that we need to sit and talk with and find the best solution and I am sure this decision will not be taken before the first quarter of 2015,” Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, president of the AFC, told Britain’s the Press Association.
"The decision is to look at the possibilities of the timing, as we speak now it is still June/July but the aim of this task force is to look at the other options and the concerns that some will have," Sheikh Salman added.
Qatar was awarded the rights to host football’s most prestigious event in a 2010 vote, which has been mired in controversy ever since, not least due to concerns over weather conditions, but also over allegations of bribery and maltreatment of foreign labour.
The Bahraini national defended Qatar’s record on its treatment of overseas workers, which has come in for stinging criticism, with reports showing that hundreds of labourers have died working on infrastructure projects in the country.
"I think because of the World Cup, this issue is being addressed and looked at,” he said.
"I am sure that the government of Qatar is co-operating positively in that sense. The best thing the World Cup is doing now is trying to improve the working conditions in Qatar. If it wasn't for the World Cup I'm not sure we would have heard of this issue," Sheikh Salman added.
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