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FIFA explores moving 2022 World Cup dates

JeromeValckeWorldCupPresser2 (Getty)


FIFA is ready to talk about a winter World Cup once again.

A FIFA task force assembled by the FIFA Executive Committee to “assess options for the international match calendar 2018-2024” met on Monday in Zurich, Switzerland. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the main topic of discussion was the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and more specifically, whether to move it away from the usual time frame in June/July to either January/February or November/December.

“Discussions centered around the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and participants were presented with information on the implications of staging the event in winter as opposed to summer, as proposed by the FIFA Executive Committee,” a FIFA statement read.

FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke clarified that the World Cup must take place in 2022, and not in the winter months of late 2021 or the early months of 2023.

The revelation that FIFA is considering a January/February 2022 World Cup is in stark contrast to comments from last November by FIFA president Sepp Blatter. Blatter ruled out a World Cup that would interfere with the 2022 Winter Olympics, which will likely take place in February 2022.

After more and more public criticism was leveled at FIFA for picking Qatar as a World Cup host, especially because of the dangerously high temperatures at play during the summer months, Blatter attempted last fall to orchestrate a move to declare that the 2022 World Cup would take place in November/December 2022.

However, a group of FIFA ExCo members, including U.S. Soccer’s Sunil Gulati, put a stop to that and called for patience and for FIFA to discuss a potential move to a winter World Cup with all their stakeholders and financial partners.

FIFA’s discussions about a move to a winter World Cup has earned them plenty of detractors, from European leagues who’s schedules will be significantly altered, to reportedly U.S. broadcaster FOX Sports, who own the rights to show the tournament in the USA.

The FIFA statement states there will be another task force meeting in November, and likely a third meeting in February 2015. At the next meeting, “each of the representatives (will be) asked to provide detailed information on how the different proposed dates for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will impact their relevant competitions, activities and/or stakeholders.”


What do you think of this news? Do you believe a decision on the 2022 World Cup timeline coming soon? Do you expect FIFA could move it to compete with the Olympics?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. What Abi said:

    the right thing for FIFA to do would be to take the following actions:

    1. keep the original summer dates for all future WC’s,
    2. declare that a mistake was made (for multiple reasons) and move the 2022 Qatar site to Australia (who never has had a WC and will have cooler weather)
    3. continue the discussions TO MOVE THE 2018 WC site because of Putin’s war mongering and blood shedding to a number of Russia’s former occupied eastern European countries (like Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, etc.) which are now part of the EU.

    There would be no Jesse Owens circa 1936 Olympics moment here, folks. I hate to bring politicos into this forum, but Russia is on a bad path and even discussions about moving 2018 would help send a clear message that is struggling to be heard to take a step back from this Novorussiya nonsense.

    • This embarrasses me. All you are doing here is legitimizing an EVEN MORE CORRUPT organization like FIFA by appealing to them. Just leave FIFA and do your own thing. Grow some balls.

  2. It’s time for us fans to take things in hand and quit just hoping FIFA will drop Qatar. Start Tweeting #BoycottQatar2022 during matches, with @Nike @Puma @Adidas and other sponsors like @McDonalds and @Coke. If enough of us do this, we could create a groundswell.

    • That’s loser talk. Boycotts are for the oppressed. Why not play to win?

      If (when) the Copa America 2016 is a huge success, why not just announce that we will be organizing the tournament every two years, and that everybody who would like to is welcome to join us in our tourist-friendly, first world, non-war torn country. Or, they can advise their vacationing heterosexual citizens and best athletes to go to Russia or Qatar and do the “legitimate” version. Their choice. We’ll be sending a C-team and zero tourists to those events, if they’re curious.

      It’s extreme of course, but the fact that we could give it a go may well be the reason Sepp and FIFA have not signed off on the Copa 2016. Who needs them, really? Seriously… if others can organize top class international soccer, why do we need the Swiss mafia at all?

  3. The whole thing is a mess and quite frankly there are only two solutions either 1) FIFA eats crow and exposes the obvious corruption on the bid as an excuse to break the contracts with Qatar thus allowing the WC to be moved to the US 2) they bite the bullet and play it in Qatar and have a lot of boring 1-0 games and 0-0 ties with water breaks like kids soccer she cause of the heat while simultaneously hoping a player doesn’t die from heat stroke.

    I just don’t see moving the cup to winter because it disrupts to many big money events and reduces the value of the World Cup (ie disrupting tv rights) and if there is one thing FIFA will never do its surrender money.

  4. If fifa doesn’t stay bribed for qatar… russia might find there’s a long lost and oppressed russian ethnc minority in switzerland, and liberate them

    • tom, so you’re thinking since FIFA is located in Switzerland that a Russian invasion MAY therefore then change their mind about holding the 2018 WC in Russia. Another somewhat related reason to move the 2018 WC cup to the eastern European countries, as I described in my prior comment above, is to protect them from a Russian invasion because then the entire world would finally be totally pis–d off at Putin.

  5. I still don’t believe this will actually happen. I don’t know when or how it’s going to get moved to another country but I think it will be moved. Hopefully to the US but Australia or anywhere else where it could be played normally would be fine.

  6. i would imagine that it would be easier to move it up 4-5 months to January-February, when everyone is already qualified and just playing warmup friendlies, than push it into November-December and start invading the the next cycle’s continental cup qualifier fixtures.

    from an MLS perspective Jan-Feb would be more ideal as it wouldn’t be during the current playoff format.

    A number of national leagues; Germany, Austria, Russia, Greece, Chile, USA, Sweden, Denmark, Korea, Japan, others, already take a shorter January break and a lot of national teams hold events during this time, Asian Cup, African Cup of Nations, all those USMNT January Camp games.. so its not the worse time of the year to put the WC. Plus you now have given them a couple weeks in the summer to extend their season into. always been surprised there wasn’t an official fifa date in January anyways..

  7. It would have to be Jan/Feb rather than Nov/Dec. Right? No way you have WC games during xmas and new years.

    Put club season on break starting Dec 15. Start the WC the first week in Jan and have the WC final the week after the Superbowl.

    Fox would love it. All the games would be early. They could cross promote all the nfl playoffs with the WC and vice versa.

    MLS ends early enough. The euro domestic leagues would be shot, but champions league could be basically un touched. Everything starting earlier in August and ending in Mid June.

    Not that I like this idea.. but I also dont see them moving it and I could see how it could work..

    • i doubt fifa knows or cares about the superbowl.. no more important than the little league ws, cricket or aussie football finals at their level..

      • I know FIFA probably doesn’t care about the Super Bowl.. but someone in their finance/marketing department has probably told them that US TV broadcast rights are some of (if not the) most expensive in the world, so they better not piss off Fox who has the rights..

      • Pretty sure they’ll be at different times of boys, boys. Although they might have to trim the 20 hour Superbowl broadcast a bit and perhaps cancel one of the power outages.

    • People bring this up a lot but I think that if FIFA is willing to do something this major, they aren’t going to be bothered by US tv considerations, which aren’t that big a deal to FIFA as far as TV deals go.

      I also don’t see why FOX would care that much, at least in terms of interfering with the NFL. I actually don’t think it would interfere much because the games would all be played in the morning US time. Qatar is about 9 hours ahead of the eastern time zone so even a 9pm kickoff would only be noon eastern/9am pacific and most games will start much earlier.

      Of course there are plenty of other reasons not to play the world cup in Qatar.

      • “which aren’t that big a deal to FIFA as far as TV deals go.”

        This is 100% categorically and provably incorrect. The US deal is the single largest TV deal that FIFA has. Is it larger than the entiirety of the EU? Probably not, but if you think that they “aren’t bothered” by that, then you’re high.

        Furthermore: your math is wrong on timing. EST is UTC-5 not UTC-6. Qatar is Arabian Standard time which is UTC+3. If it is 1200 UTC, then it is 1500 AST and 0700 EST. That’s 8 hours not 9.

        Qatar is close enough to European time that they will aim for CET Prime Time (2000 +-1 hr). Expect a lot of 2130 to 2300 kicks. That means EST at 1330 to 1500. Again: Fox doesn’t have the bandwidth without bumping someone to Fxxxxx, and if they have to do that it will by roundball football that gets bumped. They’ll want compensation from FIFA for having been forced to do that.

      • Not to mention Fox’s World Cup ratings would then have to compete with other broadcast networks that also broadcast nfl playoffs. It’s a lot easier to get huge rating numbers when all you compete with is middle of the season baseball. Pretty sure fox would use thwt to negotiate cheaper rights as well.

      • Except it wouldn’t just be the NFL playoffs. A January/February World Cup would likely catch the tail end of the college football playoffs/bowl season, it would be in the middle of the NBA and NHL season, catching both sports’ All Star weekends.
        …and The World Cup would be in direct competition with the Winter Olympics. Now, I believe the Olympics will be the real loser even among US viewers, but if an unexpected month long sporting event gets dropped on those dates the broadcast value for all the events dips. Despite all of its silliness, the US broadcast market can’t handle three different billion dollar sporting events at the same time. NBC has already made their deal with the Olympics for 2022. The NFL/Super Bowl tv deal runs through 2022. ESPN already has a deal to broadcast the college football playoffs that year. Those deals are firm. They aren’t going anywhere. The only deal that has wiggle room, the only deal that could reasonably be renegotiated is the World Cup deal. The value of the World Cup broadcast deal is going to fall drastically.

      • This is all extremely short-sighted. There are 8 years to solve basic logistical problems like those being described. We are talking about a World Cup in a completely different time zone, and Fox most certainly can and would negotiate the start times to fit their NFL calendar, and almost certainly attempt to string them into a platform that benefits both. World Cup and NFL games do not run concurrently (except the final day of the WC group stage) so their is plenty of big network bandwidth. This is easy stuff for them.

        You are right that the current negotiated price will fall, because that’s what happens when you change a deal after the fact. And they may fall because they are taking a significant and new risk– Americans may be less likely to arrange their schedules for non-primetime programming (which would be pretty much the entire tournament) during the working year than they are during the more flexible summer months. We don’t know yet so they’ll get a discount for finding out.

        But the competition you describe sounds a lot more like an opportunity than a crisis for Fox to me. Think about it– do you know a single soccer fan who would miss a World Cup game for the Winter Olympics (which are on tape delay anyway) or a friggin All-Star game? Not a chance — No existing fans will be lost. Yet the potential for poaching new viewers is immense. the potential for new viewers who are already watching television, yet are bored by three-point competitions and the re-run of a US athlete failing to qualify for bobsled might just decide to give soccer a chance, and they’ll be rewarded with the best event the game has to offer.

    • FIFA wishes they had the all NAMER consumer purchasing eyeballs that watch the Super Bowl. They will not schedule an even that conflicts with it. They will try to leverage it and cross promote all they can.

    • “Fox would love it. All the games would be early. They could cross promote all the nfl playoffs with the WC and vice versa.”

      If FOX could demand that all Saturday and Sunday matches be concluded prior to 12:00 EST*, then they’d probably be OK with that. I’m not sure that FIFA would do that, and then you’d end up with a couple of quarter-finals being put on FS1. Assuming FS1 doesn’t have the WWL’s penetration at that point, would Fox be OK with that?

      *Heck… they’d probably take 1230 or 1245. Do we really need an hour of the pregame dopes, even for the conference championship games? Put those guys on FS1, please!

      • Exactly. There is absolutely no problem with the scheduling… I’d argue it is probably the single most attractive part of an otherwise challenging situation. Fox is a big player in this game. They will not sign off on times that they do not like, and I can’t see how they would possiby have to given the locations of the events.

        People are also completely overlooking the fact that the NFL and FIFA are actually aware of each other, and would like very much to find and arrangement that allows them to access each others’ audiences. There will not be some multi-billion dolar “accident” in which the events needlessly overlap. Silly.

  8. So now is when the broadcasters and sponsors need to step in and tell FIFA to go pound sand as that’s not what they signed up for. That is the ONLY thing that might cause FIFA to stop this silly train from continuing its journey.

    But I doubt that will happen, so there will be committees, and studies, and Blatter will say something silly, and Valcke will put his foot in his mouth, blah blah blah and it will be moved to Nov/Dec. FIFA is arrogant, but not that arrogant to schedule it the same time as the winter olympics.

    How about that Garcia report anyway? Most likely a doorstop by now in Blatter’s private bathroom.

    • Interestingly, I’m pretty sure Fox already put FIFA on notice that they were expecting to renegotiate the US Broadcast rights if the tournament scheduled moved.

      And yes, FIFA clearly won’t need to buy toliet paper for years now that they have the audit report…

      • Exactly, the sponsors will make an accommodation for FIFA to move the cup, but it will require FIFA giving up a big chunk of money which I’m sure they are loath to do. A winter World Cup is worth a lot less television wise than summer.

    • Well wasn’t that the reason for awarding 2 world cups at the same time. Double the bribe money. All the talk of moving the cup just means a chance for more money to guys like Blatter. Money to leave it there or money from a re vote. Either way good for Blatter and his boys.

  9. They would have to move the season up under those dates. Can’t have someone having to choose between the MLS Final OR having to go train for the WCup……

    • I would not have as much as an issue with this if it was originally part of the bid proposal and that ALL of the confederatons agreed to a change prior to the vote. But attempting to do it after the fact is not acceptable. We are talking about a multi-billion dollar event that has a huge effect on soccer/football as a whole. FIFA made there bed and now they must sleep in it. I would hate to put it to the black light test and see just how dirty their sheets are. I have my doubts (as well as climate engineers) that these “air conditioned stadiums” were ever possible in the first place. What a bunch of crap. What does Blatter take us for anyway.

      • You mean flying air conditioners that magically shot cold air down into billion dollar stadiums that will be dismantled and given to poor countries and are going to be built by well paid and treated guest workers seems total reasonable doesn’t it

  10. seems like a lot of work for what will turn into most stakeholders proving it is bad, then FIFA ignoring them anyway, and moving on with a sh!+ plan.

    but maybe, just maybe, they’ll do the right thing.

    • bryan, the right thing for FIFA to do would be to take the following progressive actions:

      1. keep the original and customary summer dates for all future WC’s,
      2. declare that a mistake was made (for multiple reasons) and move the 2022 Qatar site to Australia which never has had a WC and will have cooler weather, and
      3. continue the discussions TO MOVE THE 2018 WC site because of Putin’s war mongering and blood shedding to a number of Russia’s former occupied eastern European countries (like Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, etc.) which are now part of the EU.

      • i’m into it. Australia is awesome, i’ll take any excuse to go back. that said, if they don’t re-bid, the US would get it because we were “#2”, only behind Qatar. but if they re-bid and Australia won, i would not be upset.

      • I don’t understand your third point. The conflict is between Russia and Ukraine. And Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria are all NATO members – attacking any of them would result in war with the United States. Putin may be crazy, but he’s not that crazy.

      • Michael, Putin is crazy enough and IMO is a war criminal by being directly and indirectly involved in killing many civilians in the Ukraine and stealing Crimea. If he continues these nationalistic crimes, I will not watch ANY 2018 WC games even though I have followed/watched ALLl of them since 1954.

    • It’s no work at all really… you write a check to a consultant, give cocktail napkin with the conclusions you’d like them to reach, state how many months you’d like them to waste on their evaluation, and then go on vacay for a few months. When you return, the draft is on your desk — the next five minutes are the hard part but really you need only confirm that the report does not advance the plot in any one direction enough to create clarity or consensus— then presto you release it. Or better yet, you don’t. Ever.

      And voila, a distraction is born. The TV partners and myriad stakholders modify their arguments to no meaningful end, and you’ve pumped life into one more news item that doesn’t involve migrants dying in droves, and you and Sepp Blatter sip cognac together out of the skulls of puppies while makng jokes about sharing the “findings”:with the public.

      Anyway seems like a pretty good gig so I’m probably applying. Don’t tell anybody.

      • LOL…but still.

        There’s been just a whole lotta bait-and-switch going on about this one. Does ANYBODY think – regardless of how much payola got pushed under the table – that a bid that included moving the WC to WINTER – and interrupting everybody else’s domestic schedules – would have flown? Qatar won that bid by peddling the notion that they could manufacture magic clouds that would cool off the country…and oh yeah, once the WC was done, they’d take down their stadiums and ship them off to the Third World for poor chilluns to play in.

        This ain’t exactly that bid, anymore. I would say surely SOMEONE has to put a stop to this fiasco…except Michael Platini seems to be busy trying to press-gang Ribery back into the French NT – how is it UEFA put this clown in charge, anyhow? – and the rest of the confederations just plain don’t matter.

      • This is actually where it gets tricky for me While there is no shortage in merit in what you are saying here as relates to the farcical “event” that was described in bid package (not that anybody has been allowed to see it really), I think that the focus on the feasibility of the bid is actually a “good thing” in FIFA’s view because it distracts attention from the fundamental issue of bribery, to which all these other things are subordinate.

        These are actually distinct and entirly separate issues that have been allowed to bleed together, and could concevably used as “excuses” for the voting officias. If we accept (as most of us appear to) that bribery took place in the voting, then it really does not matter what is promised in the bid packages. In some ways, this detailed analysis and debate actually gives validation and credibility to the process— a corrput official could simply say, “I am guilty of being a fool and should have known better than to believe in the the science fiction of this outdoor air conditioning”. Or to put it another way, if a Qatari scientist went Zlatan on everybody and somehow produced this incredible technology, we’d suddenly find ourselves in a very bad position, backpedaling desperately back toward a position we never needed to abaondon.

        The basic point is that no matter what, if bribery is not proven and , FIFA and Qatar have beaten the murder charge. Well… the metaphorical one, at least.

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