Football: FIFA to decide Qatar World Cup dates in March

FIFA hope to finalise the dates for the 2022 Qatar World Cup in March, ending a debate over the Gulf state's searing summer heat which has dogged the tournament as much as allegations of corruption.

The game's world governing body will first hear the results on February 23 of a report by a working group set up to examine when to hold the four-week showpiece.

A decision should then be made in March at FIFA's next executive committee meeting.

Both FIFA president Sepp Blatter and his UEFA counterpart Michel Platini are in favour of a winter World Cup in Qatar to avoid the blistering summer heat where temperatures rocket into the high 40-degree territory.

However, there have been fears of a clash with the 2022 Winter Olympics, while European football leagues have expressed reservations over a tournament being held in the middle of the domestic club season.

Last Tuesday, the Association of European Clubs and European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) suggested the World Cup be played from May 4-June 5 in 2022.

Two other options being examined are January-February 2022 or November-December 2022.

Meanwhile, FIFA decided on Friday that the opening match of the 2018 World Cup in Russia will take place on June 18 with the final scheduled for Sunday, July 15.

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