World Cup kick-offs at 1am anyone? That could happen if a proposal made by Harold Mayne-Nicholls, an official considering a challenge to Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency, is taken seriously.
Chilean Mayne-Nicholls has said that kicking off matches at 1am is one way of avoiding the soaring temperatures in Qatar during the 2022 World Cup.
“You could play the first games at 7 p.m., the second games at 10 p.m. and the third matches at 1 a.m.,” the former Chile FA president told BBC Sport. “You’d change everything. It would be a couple of hours behind in Europe, and that would help TV.
“The weather would still be very warm at night, but the sun is not there and that could help. I know it’s not easy. We’d sleep during the day and work during the night.
“It’s only an idea. You’d have to investigate a little bit more. I have never played in Qatar in May. Let’s organise a youth tournament, invite countries from all the confederations, and let’s use this time to see if it works.
“Then we can investigate and have conclusions, but we cannot keep talking about Qatar from Zurich, we have to check it. And if this is not a solution then we have to find another one.”
Blatter, meanwhile, has said that the 2022 finals cannot be played in the searing heat of summer in the Gulf state.
Average temperatures rise to nearly 50 degrees Celsius in Qatar during the summer months, which has led to calls for the competition to be switched to wintertime.
“We can’t play in the summer,” he told France Info. “We can lower the temperature in the stadia, but we can’t put a roof over the whole country. We have to find a solution. The most suitable date is the end of the year, because if we play at the start of 2022, we run into the Winter Olympics,” said Blatter, who suggested November-December as the most likely time slot.
“For me, it’s the best solution. We’re working on the international calendar. At the start it was possible. Now, it’s becoming a little more difficult. But the World Cup is so important.”
FIFA has set up a taskforce to look at the staging of the 2022 World Cup, and the group will meet again in November before a final decision is made next year.