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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Qatar World Cup: FIFA task force backs November-December event

The 2022 World Cup will start in November, if FIFA accepts the recommendation from its own task force.

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar should take place in November and December and could be shortened, a FIFA task force has said.

The recommendation had been widely expected after the task force, led by Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa, ruled out the possibility of playing the tournament in May and said a clash with the Winter Olympics, held in January, would be undesirable.

May had been the preferred option for European leagues, but Sheikh Salman stressed: "All parties have to compromise -- not just the Europeans."

Hassan Al Thawadi, the head of the Qatar 2022 World Cup organising committee, had said the country was ready to host the event "at any point in time."

Although the committee had originally proposed a summer World Cup, fears over the effects of high temperatures led to the decision to switch it to another time of year.

In a statement, FIFA said the recommended time had "the full support of all six confederations" and had been identified as "the most viable."

"The proposal will be discussed at the next meeting of the FIFA executive committee, scheduled to take place in Zurich on 19 and 20 March 2015," the statement said.

A task force proposal to move the World Cup to November and December in 2022 will be discussed further next month.

"The outcome of the discussions is also a proposed reduced competition days schedule.

"Various proposals for alternative dates to June/July for the 2022 FIFA World Cup were assessed at three task force meetings by representatives of the football community at confederation, member association, league and club level.

"The analysis aimed to find the most viable solution for all stakeholders, covering the likely and possible impacts of conditions on players, staff and fans, as well as the knock-on effect for domestic leagues.

"The members deliberated over the various options to determine the least impact on the national and international football calendars."

The statement said the task force was looking at the possibility of staging the Confederations Cup in another Asian confederation country during June and July 2021 and using another competition, such as the Club World Cup, as an operational test event for Qatar in November and December that year.

Speaking before the recommendation was confirmed, Sheikh Salman told the BBC: "Stakeholders are concerned about playing in the summer, so we have to change to winter. That's January or November. They have to make a choice -- either A or B.

"But I think everybody agrees that, in January or February, it's difficult to play [because of the Winter Olympics]. The only option that I see is November-December."

The decision to back November and December, finalised at a meeting in Doha, is likely to lead to increased pressure from European leagues and clubs, concerned about disrupted domestic schedules, for a shortened World Cup.

One task force member, who asked to remain anonymous, told PA Sport shortly before the decision: "The trade-offs will be for a cut in the length of the World Cup and the preparation period beforehand.

"The leagues have been forceful in arguing that you only need two weeks of preparation beforehand rather than the usual three or four and that the tournament does not need to be as long as the 32 days it was in Brazil.

"The logistics of Qatar mean it will be less than a two-hour drive to every stadium, so there will be no travel days for teams. You also don't need five days between the semifinal and final; 72 hours should be long enough."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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