The 2022 Qatar World Cup could break tradition and be played from Nov. 15 to Jan. 15 instead of in the June and July months, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke told a French radio station.
Valcke's comments stunned the international soccer community and contradicted previous comments by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who said the organization would not make a decision on the Qatar 2022 World Cup dates until after the 2014 Brazil World Cup from June 12 to July 13.
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CNN reported that Valcke said
there were concerns about playing in the stifling heat in Qatar in June and July, while temperatures in the winter months would be more suitable.
"You're playing in temperatures that are equivalent to a hot spring in Europe," Valcke said of the Qatar weather in June and July. "Playing in an average temperature of 25 degrees (Celsius) ... perfect for playing football."
An FIFA spokesman quickly distanced the soccer organization from Valcke's comments.
"The precise event date is still subject to an ongoing consultation process which involves all main event stakeholders, including both the international football community — FIFA confederations, member associations, leagues, clubs, players — as well as FIFA's commercial partners," the spokesman said, per BBC News.
"The consultation process will not be rushed and will be given the necessary time to consider all of the elements relevant for a decision. No decision will be taken before the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil as agreed by the FIFA executive committee," the spokesman added.
The Qatar 2022 supreme committee will be prepared to host the games regardless of the dates FIFA decides on. Qatar beat Australia, Japan, South Korea, and the United States for the right to host the 2022 World Cup.
Australia's soccer federation said they may ask for compensation if FIFA moved the Qatar dates
, claiming winter dates would disrupt its own professional leagues, according to a September statement.
FIFA's decision to grant Qatar the World Cup has drawn criticism for workers' rights groups. Qatar's construction sector was rife with abuse of migrant workers.
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