It’s official: Football’s governing body has decided to take the unprecedented step of moving the 2022 World Cup to the winter months to escape Qatar’s searing summer heat. The tournament will now be played in November and December of 2022, ending with a final match on Qatar’s National Day, Dec. 18, FIFA confirmed today after its executive committee convened in Zurich. The BBC quoted a FIFA spokesman as saying:

“Finally we know the end of the tournament. It’s a Sunday and, by the way, it’s the national day in Qatar, so it fits perfectly…You have enough time to do your Christmas shopping.”

The announcement follows more than four years of speculation on the date for the tournament, which Qatar bid for on the basis of summer dates, but which has been long thought would be moved to cooler months. A FIFA taskforce had already made a historic recommendation to move Qatar’s tournament from the games’ traditional June/July dates to November/December following a meeting last month. However, at the time it stopped short of confirming specific dates for when the matches would take place. In a statement, FIFA spoke of a shortened timeline, but didn’t give an exact start date for the tournament yet:

“In principle, it was agreed that the tournament should be played over a reduced timeframe, for instance 28 days. The working group for the international match calendar will meet in due course to finalise the international match calendar for the 2019-2022 cycle.”


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