FIFA announces World Cup final date


FIFA has confirmed the 2022 World Cup final in Qatar will be played on Sunday December 18.

The climax of the winter World Cup will take place a week before Christmas – a decision which will allow traditional Boxing Day club matches to take place.

UEFA president Michel Platini said the decision was acceptable – but warned that FIFA must now protect four international dates that could be disrupted.

Meanwhile FIFA’s executive committee meeting in Zurich has chosen France to host the 2019 women’s World Cup over South Korea.

The 2022 World Cup is to be played in the winter to avoid the fierce heat of June and July, and it will be a shortened tournament over 28 days instead of the usual 32, starting on November 21.

The final on Sunday December 18 is also Qatar’s national day.

UEFA had initially pushed for the final to be as late as December 23 but Platini said he now supported December 18. He insisted however that FIFA now had to re-arrange the calendar to protect up to four international dates that might be affected.

Platini told Press Association Sport: “December 18 is a good date for the final – perhaps December 23 would be too late if you are trying to get all the fans back on December 24. December 18 is fine for UEFA – we can accommodate any changes to the Champions League.

“But FIFA must now protect the international dates for the national associations – there are four international matches that could be affected and those are the lifeblood for the national associations.

“FIFA must look at the international calendar and make sure those dates are protected for the national associations.”

He also welcomed the decision to award the women’s World Cup to France.

Platini said: “Everyone in France will be very pleased I am sure – and women’s football is growing very strongly in the country.”

FIFA’s director of communications Walter De Gregorio said: “The ExCo decided today that the World Cup as proposed by the task force will be played in November-December, with the final on the 18th of December.

“Based on the proposal of the task force, we’re going to try to play in 28 days. That’s the decision in principle. Now we have to see with the international match calendar how this might be possible.”

He added: “This is for us, an important step. Finally, we know the end of the tournament.

“It’s a Sunday and, by the way, it’s the national day in Qatar, so it fits perfectly.

“You have enough time to do your Christmas shopping.”