Brace yourselves, the winter World Cup is coming

Brace yourselves, the winter World Cup is coming

It’s official. The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will take place in the winter, for the first time in the history of football’s greatest showpiece.

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FIFA confirmed the news on Saturday following Belgium’s 2-0 win over England in the World Cup third-place playoff. The controversial decision means that the 2022 World Cup will kick off on November 21 with the final played on December 18 – just a week before Christmas.

There are no mixed views about the move, with virtually all stakeholders in terms of clubs, fans, and professional leagues, as well as fans, against the unpopular move.

After hailing this year’s competition in Russia as “the best ever”, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said that he would also push ahead  to expand the competition to 48 teams in time for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

“For a couple of years I have been saying that this will be the best World Cup ever and now I can say that with conviction – it is the best World Cup ever,” said Infantino.

“I would like to thank everyone. The main protagonists are on the pitch – the players, referees and coaches – but, of course, there are also all those who have worked to make sure everything has worked smoothly.”

The Swiss said that the 28-day window between November 21 and December 18 is now set in stone, before adding: “We will decide whether it’s 48 or 32 teams in the next few months. We must have discussions with the Qataris and then if there is a possibility with the Fifa Council and stakeholders. Then we will decide calmly and quietly what the decision is.”

If it is expanded, it would mean including playing games in other Gulf states outside Qatar - despite the current trade and border blockade between the tiny country and it’s Saudi-backed neighbours.

by Graham Wood
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