Skip to main content

FIFA official Jerome Valcke envisions winter World Cup for Qatar

By CNN Staff
updated 12:04 PM EST, Thu January 9, 2014
Former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner has dismissed allegations that he received payments from ex-Qatari football officials after the emirate won the right to host the 2022 World Cup as "foolishness." Warner resigned from FIFA in 2011 after he was accused of accepting bribes. Former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner has dismissed allegations that he received payments from ex-Qatari football officials after the emirate won the right to host the 2022 World Cup as "foolishness." Warner resigned from FIFA in 2011 after he was accused of accepting bribes.
HIDE CAPTION
'Foolishness'
World Cup heat
Off message?
Decision time
Workers' rights
Rage against machine
Belounis case
Back to the future
Zero carbon
Island in the sun
Waiting game
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 2022 World Cup might be held in European winter months, says leading FIFA official
  • Jerome Valcke says weather in Qatar is perfect between mid-November, end of December
  • The World Cup is traditionally held in June and July
  • Qatar's intense heat in those months raises potential health risks for players and fans

(CNN) -- The 2022 World Cup in Qatar probably will not be played in the traditional months of June and July, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke has told a French radio station.

But the governing body for world football quickly distanced itself from its second-in-command's comments, saying, "the precise event date is still subject to an ongoing consultation process."

There has been controversy around plans to stage the month-long tournament in Qatar's intense summer heat, prompting calls to move the event to the winter. Qatar has said it will use cooling technology to make the environment pleasant for players and fans.

Valcke, who is FIFA President Sepp Blatter's deputy, told France Info that he thinks the event will be played between November 15 and January 15 at the latest.

"If it's played between November 15 and the end of December, that is when the weather is most favorable," he said, according to a CNN translation.

The tournament is traditionally held in June and July, but concerns have been raised over the potential health risks of staging a World Cup during the intense heat.

Moving the tournament could also create problems for lucrative club competitions such as Europe's Champions League while affecting American broadcasters, which have deals with domestic sports leagues that play through the first months of winter.

Valcke, referring to the idea of staging the event between November and January, said the weather will be about 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit), perfect for playing football.

Qatar heat likely a problem for World Cup
Qatar's World Cup conundrum
Moving the 2022 Qatar World Cup

In October, Blatter said that no decision on the scheduling of Qatar 2022 will be made until after this year's World Cup in Brazil, which will take place between June 12 and July 13.

Blog: The Qatar conundrum

"As the event (in Qatar) will not be played until eight years' time the consultation process will not be rushed and will be given the necessary time to consider all of the elements relevant for a decision," FIFA said in a statement.

"Consequently, no decision will be taken before the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil as agreed by the FIFA Executive Committee."

The FIFA Executive Committee is due to meet in March at its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.

The organizing committee for Qatar's first World Cup said in a statement that it would be ready to host the tournament at any time of the year.

"During the FIFA Executive Committee meeting in October it was agreed that FIFA would enter a period of consultation on the ideal time of year to host the World Cup in Qatar-- with a recommendation expected after the World Cup in Brazil," said the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee.

"We await the outcome of this consultation period. We will be ready to host the World Cup regardless of the outcome," it said.

Valcke's remarks also came as a shock to his colleagues within football's corridors of power.

Are Qatar 2022 migrant workers abused?
Qatar accused of exploiting workers

"As far as I'm concerned, I am totally surprised by the news today," FIFA Vice President Jim Boyce said. "I had been told that the FIFA Executive Committee is awaiting results of a working party on this issue. I was told no announcement on this would be made until after the World Cup in Brazil."

If the World Cup was to be held between November and January, it would probably create a logistical headache for many major European leagues -- such as the English Premier League -- and for the prestigious Champions League, organized by the continent's UEFA confederation.

American broadcaster Fox, which paid $425 million for the rights to broadcast the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, has expressed concern that a "winter" World Cup could clash with the National Football League's regular season and the Super Bowl.

The decision to award Qatar football's showpiece event has drawn widespread condemnation and focused attention on workers' rights in the state.

A report released by Amnesty International in November alleged that the abuse of migrant workers was rife within Qatar's construction sector, while British newspaper The Guardian likened the conditions for such workers to "modern-day slavery."

The recent furor around "stranded" footballer Zahir Belounis also raised questions regarding Qatar's Kafala law.

Blatter himself described the conditions for migrant workers in Qatar as "unacceptable," but he refuses to entertain the idea of moving the 2022 competition to another location.

In response to Amnesty's allegations, the director of the Human Rights Department at Qatar's Foreign Ministry said laws are in place to protect workers from mistreatment.

Photos: Qatar's obsession with football

"Qatar working conditions unacceptable," says Blatter

"Qatar deserves the World Cup"

2014 World Cup draw

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
CNN Football Club
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
updated 11:23 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
The 1989 Hillsborough stadium tragedy, which claimed 96 lives, brought the red and the blue halves of Liverpool together.
CNN's Don Riddell says the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy has caused irreparable damage to the families of the 96 victims and the survivors.
updated 8:44 AM EDT, Fri April 11, 2014
The Champions league trophy stands on show during the draw for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions league at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon on March 21, 2014. AFP PHOTO/FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Two European heavyweights will collide in the Champions League semifinals after Bayern Munich and Real Madrid were drawn together in Switzerland.
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Mon March 24, 2014
West Bromwich Albion's French striker Nicolas Anelka looks on during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich, central England, on January 1, 2014.
England prides itself on being the home of football, but is the nation dysfunctional in dealing with racist abuse?
updated 9:39 AM EDT, Tue March 18, 2014
In a city where football is a religion, Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge is fast becoming a deity.
French former football player Zinedine Zidane reacts during the gala football 'Match Against Poverty' organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on March 4, 2014 in Bern.
Some of the biggest names in football lined up for a charity match, but CNN's Tom McGowan wonders if they can help beat poverty.
updated 10:55 AM EST, Tue March 4, 2014
"Everyone is scared about war -- they are very nervous," former Ukraine football star Oleg Luzhny says of the rising tensions with Russia.
updated 1:07 PM EST, Wed February 26, 2014
Bayern Munich's present success rests on one key decision, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge tells CNN.
updated 4:22 AM EST, Tue February 18, 2014
Neymar
"More than a Club." It is an image Barcelona has carefully cultivated, but could the controversial deal to sign Neymar sour that view?
updated 1:25 PM EST, Sat February 1, 2014
Affectionately known as "the wise man of Hortaleza," Luis Aragones -- who died aged 75 -- left the legacy of helping Spain's ascension to the top.
updated 4:18 PM EST, Thu January 23, 2014
Real Madrid hasn't won the European Champions League in over a decade, but the Spanish club is invincible in one field -- making money.
The naming of the world's best footballer is not all that it seems, says CNN's James Masters.
ADVERTISEMENT