The new task force set up by the FIFA Executive Committee to assess options for the international match calendar 2018-2024 met for the first time today, 8 September 2014, at the Home of FIFA in Zurich. The meeting, officially opened by FIFA President Sepp Blatter, was chaired by AFC President and FIFA Executive Committee member Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, and attended by representatives of the football community at confederation, member association, league and club level as well as by representatives of FIFPro, the ECA, the EPFL and the CEO of the 2022 FIFA World Cup™ Local Organising Committee , Hassan Al Thawadi. The main objective of the meeting was to provide documentation to all participants on the initial work undertaken by Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa together with FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke and the FIFA administration to analyse options for the international match calendar 2018-2024, as well as to define the next steps for the task force.
“This is the first meeting and there will be future meetings on this matter. As the FIFA Executive Committee has emphasised, the consultation process should not be rushed but instead be given the necessary time to consider all of the elements relevant for a decision. We have made progress at today’s meeting and will continue to work together to find the best solution for football,” said Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa.
Discussions centred around the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and participants were presented with information on the implications of staging the event in winter as opposed to summer, as proposed by the FIFA Executive Committee. Valcke clarified that, based on the hosting agreement, the World Cup must be held in 2022. The options of January/February 2022 and November/December 2022 were put forward as alternatives to June/July 2022, and initial feedback received.
The task force will meet again in November 2014, with each of the representatives asked to provide detailed information on how the different proposed dates for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will impact their relevant competitions, activities and/or stakeholders. It is expected that another meeting will be held in February 2015.