ZURICH: FIFA has moved swiftly to clarify the contracted formality of the 2022 World Cup hosting after wild speculation in the Spanish and UK media that it could be stripped from Qatar and opened to a re-vote writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

An interview with FIFA president Sepp Blatter in Spain, quoted across Europe, had been interpreted as winding up the rhetoric over the consequences of a possible switch from a summer to a winter hosting.

Very plainly, Qatar 2022 will never, ever make a such a request for fear of stirring up a legal hornets’ nest among the nations who lost out in the vote on December 2010 (Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States).

Any demand for a date change – as wanted by UEFA’s French president Michel Platini – would have to be delivered, with full legal and financial safeguards and appropriate compensation – by FIFA itself. In any case, since the 2018 and 2022 bids were run simultaneously, such a move would threaten the contractual foundation of the 2018 finals in Russia.

A FIFA statement has insisted on the status quo and cautioned against mischievous interpretation of the situation.

The full statement

ZURICH: In regards to the interview with FIFA President Blatter published in the Spanish newspaper AS yesterday, FIFA would like to point out what the FIFA President exactly said in regards to Qatar summer/winter question:

FIFA President: “Any request for change must come from Qatar. But they have not made this request yet, because they know that if they do so, the other bidders could say ‘ah, there is a change’.”

AS: Could the vote be repeated?

FIFA President: “I don’t know, I don’t know. This is a hypothetical scenario. In this moment, the organisers from Qatar have confirmed to us that they can organise the World Cup in Summer.”

In this context, FIFA would like to remind as communicated previously that in fact the bidding agreement clearly stipulates that the final decision on the format and dates for both competitions (FIFA Confederations Cup 2021 and FIFA World Cup 2022) is vested with the FIFA Organising Committee which may hear recommendations from the LOC.

Therefore, nothing has changed to what we have said previously. The event periods stipulated for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups are based on the traditional international match calendar.

As it stands today, the 2022 FIFA World Cup is planned to be staged in Qatar in June/July 2022. As communicated earlier, any potential change would have to be first requested by the competition organizers, i.e. Qatar, and then presented to the FIFA Executive Committee for analysis.

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