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FIFA to start 2026 World Cup bid talks and choose 2022 dates for Qatar

FILE - In this Dec. 2, 2010 file

FILE - In this Dec. 2, 2010 file picture FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter announces that Qatar will be hosting the 2022 Soccer World Cup, during the FIFA 2018 and 2022 World Cup Bid Announcement in Zurich, Switzerland. A FIFA task force on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015 recommended playing the 2022 World Cup in November-December to avoid the summer heat in Qatar. The plan must be approved by the FIFA executive committee, chaired by Blatter, at a March 19-20, 2015 meeting in Zurich. (AP Photo/Keystone/Walter Bieri, File) Credit: AP

GENEVA - 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 said Wednesday the executive committee will start talks at a March 19-20 meeting on a timeline for 2026 bidders, which are expected to include Canada and the United States.

Voting for a 2026 host will now be by the full congress of FIFA member federations -- a reform agreed to in fallout from the executive committee's choice of Russia as 2018 host and Qatar for 2022.

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

A FIFA-appointed task force recommended the end-of-year option in Doha last month despite opposition from European leagues and clubs who object to being shut down for several weeks in the middle of their season.

The exact playing dates must be decided, with FIFA suggesting a 28-day tournament instead of the usual 32 days to reduce the time clubs must hand over players for national team duty.

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.

Qatar, and its pledges to improve treatment of migrant construction workers, will also be discussed in the "Sports political matters" portion of the two-day meeting.

Clubs will take note of another FIFA discussion next week on how much money they are due from World Cup revenues in 2018 and 2022.

Although FIFA rejects the idea of compensating clubs for the 2022 disruption, the governing body is in talks with the 214-member European Club Association to renew a working agreement. The expired accord paid clubs worldwide $70 million from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, distributed on a daily rate for as long as players were involved.

FIFA will announce the financial results of the 2014 tournament next week. Final revenues of about $4.5 billion are expected for the four-year commercial cycle which ended last year.

The Blatter-chaired executive committee is meeting for the first time since candidates for the May 29 presidential election were confirmed last month.

Blatter is seeking to extend his 17-year reign against an executive committee colleague, FIFA vice president Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, plus Michael van Praag of the Netherlands and Luis Figo of Portugal.

FIFA should also choose a host for the 2019 Women's World Cup. France and South Korea are competing for the rights, and to stage the 2018 under-20 women's World Cup also as a test event.

A single host nation for the Club World Cup in 2017 and 2018 should also be picked, FIFA said.


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