'April/May best time for Qatar World Cup'

The ECA says playing the 2022 World Cup in April and May would be the best solution for the tournament.

FILE: FIFA President Sepp Blatter unveils Qatar as the host nation of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Picture: Facebook.com

BERNE - Playing the 2022 World Cup in April and May would be the "best solution" for the tournament and would have the least impact on the football calendar, according to the association representing European clubs (ECA).

ECA said that, provided matches kick off in the evening, the heat in Qatar would be "less extreme than the temperature experienced in some previous World Cups (i.e. Mexico 1986, USA 1994, Brazil 2014)".

It also suggested that domestic cup competitions could be played after the World Cup in a "cup-only" period in countries with heavy domestic schedules, and that the international friendly date in March be scrapped.

The April/May proposal will be put forward on Monday to the Fifa task force which has been set up to decide when the tournament should be played.

The task force begun discussions in September when the January/February and November/December periods were put forward in addition to the traditional June/July slot, which is also under consideration.

June/July is considered an outsider because of the extreme heat in Qatar at that time.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has said the tournament cannot be played then.

"In our opinion, this proposal is the best option. It takes into account the climate issue while preserving the traditional running of a club football season," said ECA president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in a statement.

"The impact on national team fixtures and UEFA Club Competitions remains limited and the proposal has no impact at all on the Winter Olympics or the confederations' tournaments in 2023. This proposal needs to be seriously considered by all stakeholders: it is an achievable solution."

MID-APRIL FINISH

ECA's proposal envisages that the European club season will end in mid-April when the Champions League final would be played, rather than late May, and that players would be released to train with their national teams on 18 April.

The World Cup would start on 28 April and end on 29 May.

To allow for the April finish, ECA said that European leagues would have to start two weeks earlier than usual and there would have to be two or three additional rounds of domestic midweek league games.

The Champions League round of 16 may also be played over two weeks instead of the usual four, it added.

ECA said that the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT), used to estimate the effect of temperature, humidity, wind speed and sun radiation, would vary between 29.4 and 30.3 Celsius if its suggested kickoff times and dates were adhered to.

These would be 18:00, 20:30 and 23:00 local time for group matches and 19:00 and 22:00 for the knockout stage. Cooling breaks at Fifa matches are considered when the WBGT reaches 32 Celsius.

However, World Cup organisers have promised that stadiums will be cooled to lower temperatures using new technology.