FIFA to choose 2022 World Cup dates, start 2026 bid talks

ZURICH (AP) — Choosing the playing dates for the 2022 World Cup is at the top of the FIFA executive committee’s agenda next week, with the 2026 hosting contest also under discussion.

FIFA says it will start talks at its March 19-20 meeting on a timeline for 2026 bidders, which are expected to include Canada and the United States.

Still, the most important item on the agenda is confirming that the 2022 tournament in Qatar will be played in November-December to avoid the heat of June-July.

The exact playing dates must be decided, with FIFA suggesting a 28-day tournament instead of the usual 32 days.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter says he wants the final on Sunday, Dec. 18 — Qatar’s national day — over UEFA’s wish for Friday, Dec. 23.