The 2022 Qatar World Cup will likely be held in winter, after FIFA general secretary Jérôme Valcke ruled out the prospect of the tournament being played in its usual slot between June and July. Valcke was quoted as telling France Inter:
"The dates of the World Cup will not be in June or July. I think it will be played between November 15 and January 15 the latest.
"If you play between November 15 and, let's say, the end of December, it's the time when the weather is the most favourable."
The news doesn't come as a great surprise, with a winter World Cup having looked on the cards for quite a while. Back in September FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce declared that the European nations were opposed to the tournament being staged in summer, due to the extreme Qatari temperatures.
However the decision certainly won't be popular with everyone, with Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore one of many who have expressed concern about the logistics of staging such a tournament in the middle of the domestic European season.
FIFA have since released a statement denying that a decision has been taken on when the Qatar World Cup will be staged, and declaring that Valcke was only giving his own view:
"Secretary General Jerome Valcke explained today in the Radio France interview - as he had already mentioned previously - that in his view the 2022 FIFA World Cup must take place in winter and the best possible time frame would be 15 November to 15 January.
"However, the precise event date is still subject to an ongoing consultation process which involves all main event stakeholders, including both the international football community (FIFA, confederations, member associations, leagues, clubs, players) as well as FIFA's commercial partners (commercial affiliates and media rights licensees).
"As the event will not be played until eight years' time the consultation process will not be rushed and will be given the necessary time to consider all of the elements relevant for a decision.
"Consequently, no decision will be taken before the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil as agreed by the FIFA executive committee."