While it is still three years before the 2018 World Cup in Russia, FIFA has already announced the location for the 2022 edition. Officials said that the 22nd edition of the Cup will be played in Qatar during winter and will be shorter than usual.

According to FIFA’s Executive Committee, the main reason for the shift in season for the tournament is to avoid the extreme heat prevalent in the desert country during June and July, which are the usual months when the World Cup has usually been held. The final match is set to be held on Dec. 18, which also falls on the Qatari National Day.

FIFA 2022 World Cup task force head Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa earlier said that they had to compromise in order to settle for the viable months of play, as January is when the 2022 Winter Olympics is to be held, which he said would cause conflicts in schedule.

FIFA director of communication Walter de Gregorio said that there were several considerations for choosing Dec. 18 as the date of the finals. “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,” de Gregorio told reporters in an interview.  “Dec. 18 is fine for UEFA — we can accommodate any changes to the Champions League,” UEFA President Michel Platini said of the decision.

The date of the finals match was originally set on Dec. 23, but was opposed by several FIFA members due to the difficulty for fans and players to get back home in time for the Christmas holidays.

Qatar World Cup organizing committee head Hassan Al Thawadi said that they welcome the development and affirmed that the country is ready to host the tournament “at any given time.”

Paul Koroma

I learned all about life with a ball at my feet. Soccer allows me to push the limitation of creativity and express myself without saying a word. Soccer is my addiction. I train. I play, and I repeat every single day.

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