FIFA has confirmed the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will take place in the winter with the final being played on December 18.
The decision to move to a winter World Cup was recommended by a FIFA taskforce last month, and the tournament is expected to start in the middle of November.
UEFA had been pushing for a December 23 final, but that attracted opposition because of transport issues over the Christmas period. The Premier League was also keen to play games in the traditional Boxing Day slot.
It appears the tournament will be played over 28 days, down from the usual 32, with an anticipated start date of November 21, which could be confirmed on Friday when president Sepp Blatter will talk to the media.
“This is, for us, an important step,” FIFA director of communications Walter de Gregorio said outside FIFA headquarters in Zurich. “Finally we know the end of the tournament, the 18th, a Sunday.
“It is the national day in Qatar so it fits perfectly. You have enough time to do your Christmas shopping – this was a big issue.
“Based on the proposal of the task force, we’re going to try to play in 28 days. That’s the decision in principle. Now we have to see with the international match calendar how this might be possible.”
UEFA president Michel Platini gave his backing to the date of the final but is keen to make sure the impact on the calendar is minimised.
He said: “December 18 is a good date for the final – perhaps December 23 would be too late if you are trying to get all the fans back on December 24. December 18 is fine for UEFA – we can accommodate any changes to the Champions League.
“But FIFA must now protect the international dates for the national associations – there are four international matches that could be affected and those are the lifeblood for the national associations.
“FIFA must look at the international calendar and make sure those dates are protected for the national associations.”
FIFA has also revealed that the 2019 Women’s World Cup will be played in France, their bid beating one from South Korea.
Source: Sky Sports