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FIFA task force recommends pre-Christmas World Cup in 2022

A FIFA task force has recommended that the 2022 World Cup of soccer be held in the winter. A final decision is to be taken at a meeting of FIFA's executive committee next month.

The recommendation announced by the task force on Tuesday, was expected to meet major resistance from Europe's major professional soccer leagues, including Germany's Bundesliga, the English Premier League, and Spain's La Liga, as it would cause major disruption to their domestic seasons.

Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa, the head of the Asian Football Confederation told reporters in Doha, where the task force met, that all options would be reviewed at next month's meeting of FIFA's executive committee in Zurich.

"Some people have concerns, but whatever decision you're going to take will have some questions about it," Sheikh Salman said."But... we need to look at the overall benefit of everybody."

Assuming the executive committee approves the task force's recommendation, the World Cup would be held in November and December of 2022.

Sheikh Salman also said that the task force had proposed shortening the length of the tournament by a few days, but that there were no plans to cut the number of games (64) or teams (32) involved in the tournament.

Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup based on the assumption that it would take place in June and July as is traditionally the case, but objections were quickly raised from various quarters, warning that high summer temperatures could be extremely uncomfortable for supporters and potentially dangerous to the health of the players. The entire bidding process for the 2022 World Cup, as well as the 2018 edition of the tournament, which was won by Russia, has also been the subject of much controversy.

pfd/rc (AFP, Reuters)

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