FIFA rules out April-May World Cup in Qatar

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke says April and May are too hot in Qatar to play the tournament there.

”Let’s not lose time on this. April-May is not an option because of the temperature,” Valcke said in a statement to The Associated Press.

Valcke is leading FIFA’s consultation to come up with possible alternative months to play after president Sepp Blatter rejected the traditional June-July World Cup period because of Qatar’s searing desert heat.

Blatter has suggested a November start, though spring is supported by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, chairman of the influential European Club Association.

Qatar hosted the Under-20 World Cup for FIFA in April 1995, and its 2022 organizing committee insists it can host in mid-summer in air-conditioned stadiums.

However, FIFA’s own research into expected temperatures in Qatar seems set to rule out a World Cup in May.

”The climate studies for April and May are quite similar” to June and July, Valcke said. ”The best option is between mid-November and mid-January.”

This year, temperatures recorded in Doha topped 105 on May 11, while April daytime peaks ranged from 79 to 100.

Though Qatar staged the 2011 Asian Cup from January 7-29, Blatter has removed the January 2022 option as it would clash with the Winter Olympics scheduled that February.

In effect, that leaves November-December as the only viable option, and with it, huge disruption to the European domestic seasons.

The battle, when it finally commences, promises to be messy.