A FIFA task force today recommended at a meeting in Doha that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar should be staged in November and December.
The tournament now looks set to take place in the European winter for the first time in history, with the FIFA Executive Committee expected to confirm the decision in Zurich on March 19 and 20.
FIFA were weighing up a number of potential problems regarding what months the competition should take place in order to avoid a clash with the 2022 Winter Olympics, due to be held in either Almaty or Beijing.
Both bid cities released their Candidature Files in January, and Almaty and Beijing proposed to hold the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in February 2022.
Other factors including the searing summer temperatures in the Arabian nation, which can exceed 40 degrees as well as not staging the tournament during the Ramadan months, also had to be considered.
The news will come as a boost to the International Olympic Council (IOC), who were keen to avoid any potential clash with the World Cup, as was FIFA President and IOC member Sepp Blatter.
International Ski Federation President Gian-Franco Kasper, who had accused football's governing body of acting selfishly over the matter, also welcomed the decision of the task force.
"We are pleased that the proposal by FIFA to hold the World Cup in late 2022 does not clash with the Olympics," he said.
The recommendation has not gone down well, however, with the European Club Association (ECA), who represent the interests of clubs across the continent, and chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge now says they will seek compensation from FIFA due to the effect on the club season.
A November and December World Cup would pose serious issues for Europe's major domestic leagues, including Spain's La Liga and England's Premier League, as it would fall right in the middle of their seasons.
"For the football family the rescheduling of the FIFA World Cup 2022 presents a difficult and challenging task," Rummenigge said in a statement.
"All match calendars across the world will have to accommodate such tournament in 2022/23, which requires everyone's willingness to compromise.
"However, the European clubs and leagues cannot be expected to bear the costs for such rescheduling.
"We expect the clubs to be compensated for the damage that a final decision would cause."
As well as the European domestic leagues, the decision also throws the 2023 African Cup of Nations into jeopardy as that tournament is due to take place in January, just a month after the potential conclusion of the World Cup.
Task force chief Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa additionally suggested the tournament be shortened by a few days, but there are no plans to reduce the number of teams or matches, despite FIFA Presidential candidate Luis Figo's manifesto claiming he wants to increase the amount of teams to 48.
"We are very pleased that, after careful consideration of the various opinions and detailed
discussions with all stakeholders, we have identified what we believe to be the best solution for the 2018-2024 international match calendar and football in general," Sheikh Salman said.
"It was a challenging task and I want to thank all members of the football community for their productive input and constructiveness in helping to find a solution that we believe can work for everyone."
The recommendation could see a World Cup final take place on December 23, although FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce remains opposed to the showpiece match being on a date that close to Christmas.
"I think that is too close to Christmas - that's the only reservation I would have and I would like it a week earlier, but I want to wait until the FIFA Executive Committee meeting to hear all the details about the dates," he said.
"I welcome the fact all the stakeholders have been involved and although this is not going to please everyone I think common sense has prevailed.
"It will cause a lot of disruption but it is eight years away and people should have enough time to make it work."
Despite a November and December World Cup causing clear problems to the major European leagues, UEFA also announced their support in a statement as the recommendation will not affect the scheduling of their Champions League.
"UEFA sees no major issues in rescheduling its competitions for the 2022/23 season, should the 2022 FIFA World Cup proposal be approved by the FIFA Executive Committee, and UEFA acknowledges that the competition may be shortened and thus that the release period of players be reduced," the statement read.
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