2022 World Cup No Later Than 18 December

The Qatar 2022 World Cup final should be played no later than 18 December, says Fifa president Sepp Blatter. A Fifa taskforce has recommended a November/December tournament and held discussions about a 23 December final, which would affect domestic schedules.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore wants to “protect” English football’s festive fixture list.

“We have to stop at the 18th,” said Blatter. “The World Cup will not go on until the 23rd, definitely not.”

The 78-year-old, who is in Northern Ireland for this weekend’s International Football Association Board (IFAB) meeting, said he would propose that idea to the Fifa executive committee, with a final decision expected on 20 March.

Europe’s governing body Uefa said this week that it wanted the World Cup to start on 26 November and end on 23 December.

On Tuesday, the taskforce meeting in Doha proposed holding the tournament in November and December due to the extreme heat in June and July when football’s showpiece event usually takes place.

Summer temperatures in Qatar can exceed 40C while those in November and December drop to around 25C.

Football Association chairman Greg Dyke said he would do all he could to protect the traditional Christmas period for club matches.

Former England defender Phil Neville believes that a winter World Cup will mean English players will be fresher than at other World Cup tournaments.

Neville, who won 59 caps, told BBC Sport: “We normally go into a World Cup at the end of a long, hard, nine-month season when our players are absolutely dead on their feet.

“For an England team, this might be the best thing that’s ever happened.”

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