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Sepp Blatter on Qatar 2022 World Cup: “Let’s find a solution to play in the winter”

Jan 14, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

FIFA President Sepp Blatter addresses the media in Zurich Reuters

Speaking in Zurich after the Ballon d’Or celebrations on Monday, FIFA President Sepp Blatter has dropped the biggest hint yet that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will indeed take place in the winter months but didn’t give any other specifics.

Other FIFA executives haven’t been quite as vague in the past few days.

Jerome Valcke, Secretary General of FIFA, told French radio last week that the tournament in Qatar in 2022 would be held “sometime between November 15 and January 15”, raising the prospect of it spanning two years for the first time.

That notion enraged some of FIFA’s other executives who have since hit back at plans to spread the 2022 World Cup into 2023 and tarnish the tournaments reputation and history. Blatter understands the uproar about the planning issues ahead of soccer’s governing body, but also believes a solution can be found to make a winter World Cup work.

“We are making all these consultations and they will be finished at the end of 2014,” Blatter said of the evidence FIFA is currently collecting. “So it will be in 2015 that we can make the decision, if we will play in the summer or winter in 2022. But the tendency is definitely that it’s too hot in the summer, so let’s find a solution to play in the winter.”

That’s all well and good Sepp, but between now and 2015 we will constantly hear different ideas banded around by the many members of FIFA as they all give their own two cents on when the tournament should be held in Qatar.

A monumental mess just keeps getting messier. We’ve got another 12 months of this…

  1. danielofthedale - Jan 14, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    I am sure FOX is thrilled to have payed all that money for the ability to air World Cup games at the same time as their NFL games on Sunday and college football games on Saturday.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 14, 2014 at 2:31 PM

      you really think that FIFA will let their prized World Cup be played when convenient to
      America and NFL and NCAA Football, you better think again.

      • danielofthedale - Jan 14, 2014 at 2:41 PM

        I am not saying that FIFA should care or that FOX would still not have had the highest bid, but if this is moved from Summer to Winter you can say the bidding was done under false pretense. The lack of other sporting options for the summer adds a premium to their value. In the winter when football is swing additional programming is not a valuable. It may not matter but from a purely business perspective it is a significant factor.

        And I am guessing that that there are more than a few other nations who’s TV rights holders might have some business interests that are effected by this or would have changed their bid if they knew the World Cup would be played in a different time of year.

      • danielofthedale - Jan 14, 2014 at 2:55 PM

        And FOX’s US TV rights I think is responsible for about 25% of the total value of the 2018/22 World Cup TV Rights revenue. So FIFA might not care a lot about what they think, they probably care a little

      • mikeevergreen - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:33 AM

        Sure about that Daniel? 25% of the the total? That’s just the American rights. Who has the European/Asian/South American rights?

  2. fanofevilempire - Jan 14, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    too bad for fox, FIFA will not play the World Cup when it is convenient to fox
    and it’s NFL Football ratings.

  3. dfstell - Jan 14, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    Has anyone considered the idea of just playing at night in Qatar? The nighttime lows there are ~80 degrees (according to Wikipedia). Isn’t that just as good of a solution as switching to winter…..unless part of this is that FIFA would like to kick the big European domestic leagues in the groin.

    • chadmoon1 - Jan 14, 2014 at 4:10 PM

      That might be smart. So of course it has not been considered!!!!

    • nogoodusernames - Jan 14, 2014 at 9:52 PM

      What exactly do you have in mind by playing games “at night”? I’m no weather expert, but I’m pretty sure that daily low temperatures generally come shortly before sunrise, certainly after midnight. Plus, the World Cup generally has 2 game slots a day. When would you suggest they play, 10 pm and 1 or 2 am local time? And what would World Cup game times have to do with kicking European leagues in the groin? I don’t think European leagues would be playing, so why would the leagues care?

  4. chadmoon1 - Jan 14, 2014 at 4:11 PM

    Maybe FIFA should be considering “if” the World Cup should be played in Qatar, not “when”.

    • nogoodusernames - Jan 14, 2014 at 9:57 PM

      heh, unfortunately, if FIFA was ever going to consider what was best for the tournament, they never would have considered playing the World Cup in Qatar in the first place, and certainly wouldn’t have done their best to get as many votes as they could for the country.

  5. vanman1973 - Jan 14, 2014 at 7:21 PM

    FIFA should never have awarded the 2022 Cup to Qatar. The U.S. was a much more viable option, and it’s about 10 to 20 degrees cooler in July than in Qatar.

    • mikeevergreen - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:03 PM

      We all know that, but when has FIFA ever made sense?

  6. doug325 - Jan 19, 2014 at 10:38 PM

    They NEVER should have awarded the cup to Qatar in the first place. It was probably the LEAST suitable of the candidates for 2022. The US would have been much better. Recall that the US World Cup STILL holds the attendance record (and that was with 12 fewer games) As to a solution, why not have all night games. The main issue (of many) with Qatar is that it is over 100deg during the day in July there. Holding the Cup in January would be right in the middle of the European pro season

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