FIFA chief sees no problems in holding 2022 World Cup in Qatar in winter

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Moscow, April 20 (IANS) FIFA’s decision to set the wintertime period as the time-frame for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar instead of the traditional summertime will not result in huge problems for the world of football, Gianni Infantino, the president of the world’s governing body of football, said here.

Speaking in Moscow on Tuesday at a joint press conference with Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, Infantino admitted that FIFA World Cups were traditionally held in summertime, but the decision had been already made and it would not result in problems for the international football, reports Tass.

The World Cup, he said, is one of the most important sports events on the global scale and needs optimal conditions, while international football federations should adjust their tournament schedules for the championship in 2022.

FIFA officially announced in March 2015, that the 22nd edition of FIFA’s flagship event would be played in November and December 2022, with the final match taking place on December 18, 2022 — Qatar’s National Day – and with the objective, in principle, of staging the tournament in 28 days.

An initiative of switching the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from summer to November-December period was initially proposed two years ago by former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who cited blazing heat in the Arab state in summer time as the reason for the drastic change of the traditional timeframe.

The decision to change the traditional timeframe was criticised by many international football executives. Among the concerns cited, those against the championship’s wintertime period said the whole Europe played football in November and December and it included national championships, the Champions League, the Europa League and therefore the international calendar must be completely changed.

Infantino, elected the president of the world’s governing body of football less than two months ago, is paying his first official visit to Russia on April 19-20 in his new capacity.

Jointly with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin he inspected on Tuesday morning the course of the reconstruction works at the Luzhniki Arena for the 2018 World Cup, to be hosted by Russia.

Russia is currently in full-swing preparations for the global football championship after the country won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup at the FIFA Congress in Guatemala on December 4, 2010.

The country selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in the 11 mentioned above cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.

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