UEFA backs December 23 final

UEFA says it wants the 2022 World Cup final in Qatar to be held two days before Christmas because it would have less impact on its own international matches.

The European body’s proposed date of December 23 has sparked uproar in Britain as it would threaten the traditional festive club programme.

A FIFA task force on Tuesday recommended that the 2022 tournament should be played in late November to late December to avoid the heat of the summer, but FIFA’s executive committee will make a final decison on the dates on March 20.

UEFA’s position has infuriated the Premier League – and it appears the governing body is pushing for December 23 to reduce disruption to its new Nations League competition.

A spokesman said: “Earlier [than December 23] would have more impact on European qualifiers.”

December 18 remains a strong possibility, however – it is Qatar’s national day and also falls on a Sunday, and would be early enough for the festive club programme to take place.

FIFA’s general secretary Jerome Valcke has confirmed that the 2022 World Cup will be four days shorter as a “concession” to the league and clubs, 28 days instead of the usual 32, and that the African Nations Cup in 2023 will be moved to June 2023 from January.

He also said no apology was necessary to the clubs despite the disruption it will cause to domestic football across the globe. He also ruled out paying compensation.

Valcke told a news conference in Doha after a Qatar 2022 organising committee board meeting: “We are bringing all our people to enjoy the sporting and financial results of the World Cup so why should we apologise – I definitely don’t feel I have to apologise for the decision made yesterday. There will be no compensation.”

Valcke also appeared to confirm the deal to extend the USA TV rights deal with Fox to include the 2026 World Cup had been done to avert the threat of any legal action over its 2022 deal.

He said: “We have done what we had to do in order to protect FIFA and the organisation of the World Cup.” Story by football365/TB

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