ZURICH: Shaikh Salman, president of the Asian Football Confederation, has asserted the importance of continuing the consultation process to determine the dates for the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar.

The AFC president who is also a FIFA exco member, made his comments after chairing the first meeting of the task force charged with evaluating the available options in regards to the international agenda between 2018 and 2024, and to select specific dates for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said he was pleased with the progress of the meeting and remarked: “This is our first meeting and there will be more meetings on this issue in the future.

“As confirmed by the FIFA Executive Committee, we should not rush the consultation process, but must take all the time we have and take into account all relevant factors to make the decision. We have made progress in today’s meeting and we will continue to work together to achieve the desired goal,” added Shaikh Salman.

The meeting also featured a speech by FIFA President Joseph Blatter, who addressed representatives of the football confederations and associations, clubs, leagues and FIFA’s business partners.

During the meeting, discussions centered around the implications of organising the 2022 World Cup in winter compared to summer, in addition to analysing the available options for the FIFA calendar between 2018 and 2024, and determining the next steps for the Task Force team.

FIFA Secretary General JérômeValcke clarified that, based on the hosting agreement, the FIFA World Cup™ must be held in 2022. The options of January/February 2022 and November/December 2022 were put forward as alternatives to June/July 2022, and initial feedback has been received.

The Task Force will hold its next meeting in November 2014, which will be attended by all relevant parties who were asked to provide detailed information on how the various proposed dates for the 2022 World Cup will impact their events and activities.