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Qatar World Cup in Nov-Dec ‘done deal’

BLATTER-MANILANEW YORK, February 19- Staging the 2022 Qatar World Cup in November and December to avoid blazing summer heat is “a done deal,” Sports Illustrated reported on its website Wednesday.

Citing multiple sources, the magazine’s report said the decision has been made, saying a FIFA task force will make the November-December timing recommendation next week at a meeting in Doha and FIFA’s executive committee will finalize the plan when it meets next month in Zurich.

Just three weeks ago, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke told France-Info radio the World Cup in Qatar should be staged in winter but clashing with the 2022 Winter Olympics in February was also a concern.

The report said the current plan was to impact only one European club season, with clubs hoping to trim some international match dates to achieve, but there was no firm plan regarding the FIFA Confederations Cup, typically staged the year before the World Cup in the host nation as a test run for the globall football showdown.

In December, the European Clubs Association and European Professional Football Leagues indicated a strong preference for playing the 2022 World Cup from May to June.

Just last week, FIFA extended the US media rights to the World Cup for four years through 2026 with Fox and NBC Universal-owned Spanish language network Telemundo. The move came without opening the events up for bidding, a shock especially given the United States might bid for the 2026 World Cup.

At the time, there was speculation the move was a sign that the 2022 World Cup would move to the winter, a major hit for North American rights-holders given the more filled TV sports landscape in a November-December time frame compared to the usual June-July scheduling. Giving rights-holders another World Cup could make up for financial losses a change in timing could bring.

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