John Delaney says Qatar date debate has damaged Fifa

FAI chief executive feels governing body should have been clearer over 2022 World Cup

FAI chief executive John Delaney has said the debate over what time of year the 2022 Qatar World Cup will be played has been damaging for Fifa.

A Fifa taskforce has recommended football’s showpiece event take place in November and December, with the final to be held on December 23, after a number of senior figures met to discuss various options with a summer tournament deemed unsuitable due to Qatar’s high temperatures.

The recommendation is set to be ratified by Fifa’s executive committee in Zurich on March 19 and 20, and Delaney feels a lack of clarity over when Qatar 2022 will be held has hurt the governing body’s reputation.

“It’s the lack of clarity. If you say: ‘We’re giving the World Cup to Qatar, we’re playing it in November and December’ at the start, people know.


“But when you say: ‘We’re giving it to Qatar and we’re going to study now when it’s going to be played’, and it goes on for years, that’s the damage that’s done.

“And it has been damaging to FIFA as a brand. Definitely”

The taskforce have suggested a November to December tournament instead of a January or April to May one, a move which will present Europe’s major leagues with a significant problem.

Delaney added: “I’m surprised it’s taken this long to make a decision. When they awarded the World Cup to Qatar they should have said it’s not in the summer.

“I don’t mind Qatar or other countries hosting the World Cup, everyone has the right to try and host the World Cup.

“But the decision to award it and not be definitive on when it would be played, that was the mistake.