World Cup 2022: Qatar matches could start at 1am, says official

Qatar World Cup
Qatar was controversially awarded the 2022 World Cup by Fifa's executive committee in 2010

Qatar World Cup games could finish as late as 3:30am under one proposal made by a senior football official.

Harold Mayne-Nicholls, who is considering challenging Sepp Blatter for the Fifa presidency, said the event could still be staged in the summer.

But the ex-Chilean football chief said some games would have to start as late as 1am to avoid the worst of the heat.

"You could play the first games at 7pm, the second games at 10pm and the third matches at 1am," he told BBC Sport.

It is expected that the Qatar World Cup will be moved to winter in 2022 to avoid searing temperatures, with a November/December tournament currently being looked at by world football's governing body.

But Mayne-Nicholls said such a solution would be "chaotic" to most major leagues around the world.

Qatar was controversially awarded the 2022 World Cup by Fifa's executive committee in 2010.

The stadium in Al Wakra is now under construction
A computer-generated image of the stadium in Al Wakra, which is now under construction

Mayne-Nicholls had expressed serious concerns about conditions in the Gulf state, when he led Fifa's technical commission which assessed each bid for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.

Now he has come up with a novel solution to one of the biggest dilemmas the sport has ever faced.

"You'd change everything. It would be a couple of hours behind in Europe, and that would help TV," he added.

Blatter has suggested a switch to November/December 2022 is almost inevitable, although another possibility is to stage the tournament in January and February.

But Mayne-Nicholls said that would also mean a clash with European football leagues, as well as the Winter Olympics and Super Bowl in the United States, and that a slightly earlier summer tournament should be considered.

"You could move it towards May, until the middle of June", he said.

Qatar win right to host 2022 World Cup

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Qatar win right to host 2022 World Cup

"The weather would still be very warm at night, but the sun is not there and that could help.

"I know it's not easy. We'd sleep during the day and work during the night.

"It's only an idea. You'd have to investigate a little bit more.

"I have never played in Qatar in May. Let's organise a youth tournament, invite countries from all the confederations, and let's use this time to see if it works.

Time difference
Doha, Qatar 01:00
London, UK 23:00 BST

"Then we can investigate and have conclusions, but we cannot keep talking about Qatar from Zurich, we have to check it. And if this is not a solution then we have to find another one."

A taskforce set up by Fifa to decide on the best date for the 2022 World Cup features a variety of stakeholders including clubs, leagues and player representatives, and will meet again in November before a final decision next year.

Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa, president of the Asian Football Federation, is heading up the taskforce alongside Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke.

Mayne-Nicholls is the latest official to say he would like the report by former US attorney Michael Garcia into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments to be published.

He has until late January to submit his candidacy for the Fifa election in May. Blatter is seeking a fifth four-year term as president, with another former Fifa official - Jerome Champagne - the only other declared candidate.

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