x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Uefa backs call to move Qatar 2022 World Cup to winter

The European body's 54 member associations have agree to back the move to have the event in the winter.

The Uefa president Michael Platini, left, along with Sepp Blatter, his Fifa counterpart, have some decisions to revise. David Cannon / Getty Images
The Uefa president Michael Platini, left, along with Sepp Blatter, his Fifa counterpart, have some decisions to revise. David Cannon / Getty Images

The European football body Uefa has formally announced that they have a mandate from their 54 member associations to support moving the 2022 Qatar World Cup to January rather than the allotted time of July-August – summer time in the Arabian Gulf – that year.

Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce said after a strategy panel meeting in Dubrovnik, Croatia: “What has come out of this meeting is that the World Cup cannot be played in Qatar in the summer. Everyone was certainly in agreement about that.”

He said there was no rush to find the next suitable dates.

A concerted effort to shift the dates of the event gathered momentum in recent months with Fifa president Sepp Blatter suggesting November or December dates.

The Fifa medical committee chairman Michel D’Hooghe warned of the challenges and the detrimental impact on the physique of players if the event was held in summer.

November was not acceptable to Uefa with many European leagues in competition at that time. December, too, is a month of many prime festive matches.

Estonia Football Association president and board representative Aivar Pohlak said on Wednesday that Uefa had “quite clear” support for the switch.

“As an exception and that is it,” Pohlak said. “As a one-time problem, it can be handled.”

A Fifa executive committee meeting is scheduled in Zurich on October 3 and then it is expected the world body could make a statement.