FIFA has “no concrete plans” to move the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from the summer to winter, soccer’s governing body said in an emailed statement on Thursday.
Any potential move “would have to be initiated by the football association of Qatar and would have to be presented to the FIFA Executive Committee,” the governing body said.
There’s been speculation about a switch to winter because of concern over possible risks to players’ health. Temperatures in Qatar rarely fall below 37C in June and July.
In December and January, the temperature drops to an average of 23C.
Qatar last month beat the US, Australia, Japan and South Korea to win rights to the event, which is usually held in June and July, summer in Europe and North America.
While FIFA President Sepp Blatter has said he expects a switch to winter, Qatar has said it won’t deviate from its plans to air-cool stadiums and stage the tournament in the summer.
Soccer officials openly discussed changing the dates of the World Cup in the weeks before the December 2 vote, FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer said last week.
A switch to winter would disrupt the European soccer season, which traditionally runs from August to May, and has been opposed by coaches including Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger. A winter World Cup, the first in the competition’s history to be played outside June and July, would require a mid-season break of about 60 days and necessitate changes to the 2020-21 and 2022-23 club schedules.
Also in December, the FIFA committee awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia.
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