Media speculation on the future of the Qatar World Cup has continued following Fifa’s decision to delay any decision on the timing of the tournament until after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

  • Sepp Blatter is open to moving the date of the Qatar 2022 World Cup tournament, but has ruled out the prospect of it being held in January or February of that year, as it would clash with the 2022 Winter Olympics.
  • Sepp Blatter says he is open to the possibility of staging the 2022 World Cup in more than one Gulf country. The Fifa president also told the Independent that several countries had offered to co-host the tournament with Qatar.In 2007 Fifa told MEED that it had a policy of not selecting joint bids if there was a viable bid from a single country.
  • Qatari Prime Minister and Interior Minister Shaikh Abdulla bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani met with Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa on 6 November reports the Bahrain News Agency. Sheikh Salaman chairs the working group set up to investigate the implications of changing the date of the 2022 World Cup finals
  • The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee is close to appointing a project manager for the Lusail Iconic stadium. Sources close to the project say that an award could be made by the end of October. With a planned capacity of more than 86,000 people it is the largest stadium that will be built for the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar.
  • UEFA president Michel Platini says Qatar should solve its “problems” ahead of the 2022 World Cup. “It’s a gift that was made to the Qataris,” Platini told French TV station Canal Plus. “But there are problems and they have to solve them. There are more important problems than knowing whether we play (the World Cup) in the summer or in the winter.”
  • The design for the Al-Wakrah stadium will be unveiled on November 16 and 17 at the Coliseum summit in Doha. In May, the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee appointed the local office of KEO International Consultants as the project manager and US-based Aecom as the design consultant for the Al-Wakrah stadium project.
  • Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the chairman of the European Club Association (ECA) has said the Qatar World Cup could be moved from summer to April 2022 reports the Sunday Times, adding that moving the tournament to spring will avoid the severe heat of Qatar’s Summer.
  • Zahir Belounis has been told he can leave Qatar. The 33-year-old French footballer has been embroiled in a pay dispute with local side El-Jaish for the past two years. His plight has risen to prominence as Qatar prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.
  • Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa will present a proposed plan of action on how to implement the consultation process for the 2022 FIFA World Cup dates in Qatar during the FIFA Executive Committee meeting in December.
  • World football’s players’ union FIFPro says it will urge its members not to take part in the 2022 World Cup if it is played in Qatar’s summer, reports Reuters. “We will not play in the summer in Qatar,” FIFPro vice-president Philippe Piat said.
  • English FA Chairman says he is “pretty certain the World Cup will stay in Qatar”, BBC Radio 4 was told on 16 October.
  • Bahrain’s FIFA representative Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa will chair the working group set up to investigate the implications of changing the date of the 2022 World Cup finals.

Delayed decision

In early October, World football’s governing body Fifa decided to delay any decision on the future of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar until after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil during its executive committee meeting on 4 October.

Fifa also discussed labour rights in Qatar, and plans to meet with Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani to discuss working conditions in the country following reports of widespread abuse of foreign nationals working in Qatar.

Fifa’s statement on the Qatar World Cup:

“Regarding the question of the dates of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, the Executive Committee decided to launch a consultation process among the main stakeholders concerned, including both the international football community (FIFA, confederations, member associations, leagues, clubs, players) as well as FIFA’s business partners (Media Rights Licensees and Commercial Affiliates).

This consultation process will be undertaken by a working group chaired by AFC President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa. Furthermore, the executive outlined that the tournament would be played in nine years’ time and that therefore the consultation process would not be rushed but would be given the necessary time to consider all of the elements relevant for a decision. Consequently, no decision will be taken before the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.

The executive also gave the FIFA President the mandate to meet the new Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, and to report personally about the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, including holding talks on labour rights and conditions in the country.”

Qatar plans to spend $70bn on infrastructure projects ahead of the tournament. Major schemes include the Doha Metro, a new network of expressways, and new stadiums. These projects will require hundreds of thousands of construction workers. Most will come from South Asia.

Speculation on the future of the 2022 tournament had reached fever pitch ahead of the 3-4 October meeting with various reports on the future of the tournament.

The main reports were:

  • MEED has secured a copy of the agenda for the crucial FIFA executive committee meeting which opens in Zurich today at 2pm. It shows that the discussion about the status of the Qatar World Cup finals is item 12 and that there appears to be no formal proposal for the 25-member committee to vote on. This suggests that a final decision about changing the dates of the 2022 World Cup finals from summer which FIFA President Sepp Blatter said in August would probably be approved may not emerge from the two-day meeting. The meeting is due to close at lunch time on Friday 4 October. This will be followed by a press conference.
  • The Independent reports that FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce saying Fifa should delay any detailed decision on moving the 2022 World Cup until there has been full consultation with other key stakeholders.
  • The Peninsula reports that Doha has hired UK-based law firm DLA Piper to review recent allegations of labour abuse in Qatar.
  • Bloomberg reports that Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the head of a group representing Europe’s top soccer clubs, said the sport’s governing body must include teams and players in any decision on rescheduling the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
  • Associated Press quotes International Ski Federation President Gian Franco Kasper saying that moving the World Cup from its traditional June-July dates to the winter could negatively impact other sporting events held in the winter.
  • UK broadcast Sky reports that moving the World Cup to November is the most likely outcome.
  • BBC reports that three members of Fifa’s executive committee oppose moving the event to winter, adding that European football’s president Michel Platini says a vote of the matter would be impossible when discussed on 4 October.

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