The announcement by FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar would not be played in the summer, has not gone down well with some of his FIFA colleagues.
FIFA vice president Jim Boyce who said that only the world governing body’s executive committee could decide when the World Cup would be played.
In a later statement, FIFA backtracked on Valcke’s comments which came in an interview with radio station France Inter.
Valcke said: “The dates of the World Cup will not be in June or July. I think it will be played between November 15 and January 15 at the latest.
“If you play between November 15 and, let’s say, the end of December, it’s the time when the weather is the most favorable.
“You play with a temperature equivalent to that of a rather hot spring in Europe, you play with a temperature of 25 degrees (Celsius), which is perfect to play football,” he added.
The average temperature in the summer months in Qatar can be around 35C and 45C.
In a subsequent statement FIFA appeared to backtrack saying Valcke was merely offering his opinion that the 2022 World Cup must take place in winter.
Although when the person expressing an opinion just happens to be the second most powerful person in world football, people do tend to listen.
The FIFA statement added: “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 (Commercial Affiliates and Media Rights Licensees).
“As the event 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.
“Consequently, no decision will be taken before the upcoming World Cup Brazil as agreed by the FIFA Executive Committee.”
And to think, it was only yesterday that Valcke’s boss, Sepp Blatter, had the temerity to berate Brazil for the inept way in which it has handled preparations for the 2014 World Cup.
To confirm the sense that the right leg does not know what the left leg is doing, FIFA Vice President Boyce expressed his dismay at Valcke’s announcement.
“I am totally shocked to be honest,” said Boyce, sounding like a man who has not only been left out of the loop but was unaware such a loop even existed.
“The situation, as far as I’m aware, is that the FIFA executive committee was awaiting a report set up by all the stakeholders involved in the World Cup – television companies, leagues, sponsors – meeting between now and the World Cup in Brazil.
“The plan was that there would be no further discussion on the World Cup in Qatar until December at the end of this year.
“Whether Jerome was making a personal opinion or not I just don’t know, but I can confirm this has not been discussed by the FIFA executive committee. I am very surprised about what has happened this morning.
“100 per cent I can confirm that the FIFA executive committee has not decided to move the World Cup.
“The decision would not be taken until the end of 2014, or at the March 2015 meeting of the executive committee.”
FIFA delayed its decision in October saying it was setting up a working group to decide when to stage the finals.
Valcke’s surprise announcement on Wednesday comes more than three years after Qatar was originally awarded the tournament in December 2010.
Controversy has surrounded the decision to give Qatar the finals since the day it was made, and judging by the latest developments, will continue to dog the finals for some time to come.