It seems more likely than not that the 2022 World Cup will be played during the winter months of November and December, when the temperature in Qatar is closer to 25 degrees centigrade than 40 during the summer.
A Fifa task force has recommended the break from tradition, with the federation’s vice-president Jim Boyce calling the switch “common sense”, while BBC sports editor Dan Roan went a little overboard with the hyperbole when claiming this was “the day many in football had feared”.
The black and gold boys at bwin.com go 13/20 that the World Cup will be held in Qatar in 2022, with 11/10 saying it won’t.
To be fair to Roan, this change will cause tremendous chaos for domestic leagues, with England likely to be among the worst affected considering there are no winter breaks in the Premier League or Football League.
As far as individual clubs go, removing December from the fixture list (there has already been speculation that the tournament could start on 26 November and end on 23 December, according to the BBC) may prove a hard pill to swallow for current Premier League champions Manchester City.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side took more points in December than any other Premier League clubs during their title-winning 2013/14 campaign, and followed up by doing the same again this season.
Their ‘December of Deliverance’ numbers stand up over a six-year period under three different managers; City have won 25, drawn five and lost just five of their past 35 top-flight matches during the last month of the year.
At the other end of the spectrum, scratching it from the fixture list could prove highly beneficial for West Ham, as the east Londoners have only won six of their last 28 December league games, losing 15 times and claiming just 25 points from a possible 84.
You can also wager on whether there’ll be any European boycotts ahead of Qatar, where bwin go 3/1 ‘Yes’ and 1/5 ‘No’.
Holders Germany are the early favourites to lift the trophy again in seven years time at 4/1.