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2022 World Cup in Qatar a lingering headache for soccer officials

October 04, 2013|By David Wharton

Faced with continuing criticism over their decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, international soccer leaders have concluded a two-day meeting by deciding to put off any immediate decisions.

Qatar was a controversial choice from the start, if only because the Persian Gulf can be oppressively hot in summer. More recently, there have been reports of widespread labor violations in that country.

After meeting in Zurich, members of FIFA's executive committee said Friday they will begin a consultation process to further examine moving the summertime tournament to a winter date in 2022. They also directed FIFA President Sepp Blatter to speak with Qatari officials about treatment of foreign workers there.

Only a month ago, Blatter acknowledged it "may well be that we made a mistake" awarding the Cup to Qatar.

The International Olympic Committee will keep a close eye on the deliberations. Olympic officials have warned FIFA that any switch in dates for 2022 must not conflict with the Winter Games that year.

"There's no doubt that they will play in Qatar," Walter de Gregorio, a FIFA spokesman, told Sky Sports News. "What is the open question, as you know, is if you play in winter and if you play in winter is it November, December, January, I don't know."

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