Football's governing body FIFA has approved holding the final of the controversial 2022 World Cup in Qatar on December 18th.
It will be the first tournament to be held in the northern winter.
FIFA is also aiming "in principle" for a tournament of just 28 days, four days shorter than previous World Cups.
FIFA communications chief Walter de Gregorio says the exact starting date would be decided after talks with federations and representatives of top clubs.
FIFA had to change from the traditional June-July World Cup because of the scorching summer temperatures in Qatar.
But the issue has caused months of debate within football's leadership because of the disruption to national championships, particularly in Europe's powerful leagues.
The decision to hold the final on December 18th means Britain's traditional Boxing Day club matches on December 26th can still take place.
In another key decision, FIFA has chosen France to host the 2019 women's World Cup ahead of South Korea.
France will also host the Under-20 women's tournament in 2018.
The decision to move the 2022 World Cup from its traditional June and July slot was taken because of health concerns for players.
Summer temperatures in Qatar can exceed 40C.