Fifa has finally named the dates for the 2022 World Cup, with the tournament in Qatar set to last just 28 days.
The tournament will kick off on 21 November with the final being played on 18 December.
Controversy has surrounded the bidding process which led to Qatar being awarded the tournament and the sweltering conditions the players would encounter during the summer months. To avoid the regular 50 centigrade day time temperatures Fifa decided to switch the tournament from the traditional northern hemisphere summer months to Novemeber-December.
The calendar approved means clubs must release players to the 32 World Cup teams by Monday, Nov. 14, 2022 – one week before the opening match.
No international match dates – either qualifiers for continental championships or friendlies – have been set for October 2022. Instead, the two fixtures traditionally set aside for October will be moved forward four months.
The dates were agreed in principal back in March, when the Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce said that the Premier League would look to resume its fixtures on Boxing Day.
“There are seven years to prepare for this until 2022,” Boyce said earlier this year. “I think it could be a tremendous World Cup because I think players will be fresher than they have ever been. It’s going to be 28 days, it’s not a lifetime. It means [domestic leagues] starting three weeks earlier and finishing three weeks later for one year.”
World Cups are usually played over 32 days but the reduced timescale appears to have been chosen with a view to minimise disruption to the European leagues.