5 Dec 2010

Qatar may change World Cup dates

5:39 am on 5 December 2010

The 2022 football World Cup in Qatar could take place in January or February to avoid the scorching temperatures of the summer months in the desert state.

FIFA Executive Committee member Franz Beckenbauer, who won the 1974 World Cup as West Germany captain and also coached his nation to the 1990 title, says hosting the tournament during the winter would be an alternative.

The World Cups are traditionally held during the northern hemisphere's summer months after the end of the domestic league competitions.

Qatar, which beat bid rivals Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States, says it will deploy climate-control technology to keep the temperature on the pitch to 27 degrees Celsius while outside it was a scorching 50 degrees.

Beckenbauer says plans for the biggest leagues would have to change for 2022 but that would not be a major undertaking.

Qatar, which has never qualified for the World Cup finals, was picked by world soccer's governing body FIFA on Friday to stage the 2022 tournament, a first both for the Middle East and for an Arab country.

It will also be the smallest nation ever to host the World Cup.

FIFA awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia on the same day and Beckenbauer had long opposed the double vote by FIFA, which has been severely criticised for it.