Football: Fifa likely to delay decision on 2022 World Cup dates, says vice-president

LONDON (REUTERS) - Despite widespread speculation that Fifa will vote to switch the dates of the 2022 World Cup on Friday, soccer's world governing body will probably delay making a decision and instead set up a task force to analyse the huge implications of moving the tournament from the searing heat of the Middle East summer.

Although the executive committee could agree in principle to move the dates of the World Cup, Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce said it should not rush into a decision and he wanted a task force set up to examine the issue.

"I don't think there is any possibility of a decision being taken about moving the World Cup this week," he said. "What should happen next is that all the stakeholders, the major clubs from around the world, the major leagues, TV rights holders, sponsors, everyone needs to get around the table and have their say.

"Although Uefa's 54 members have agreed it would be best to move the World Cup away from the summer, all the implications need to be studied in detail.

"And don't forget, we don't need to rush into this. The World Cup is still nine years away, we have plenty of time.

"But we also need to look very closely at the conditions of the immigrant workers who are building the infrastructure in Qatar and will be building the stadiums there for the World Cup.

"I was appalled and upset after last week's stories that dozens of immigrant workers had died as a result of the conditions in Qatar and that thousands of others are being ill-treated. We cannot allow that.

"These people must be protected and their basic human rights safeguarded."

Michael Garcia, the head of the investigative unit of Fifa ethics committee, will tour all the countries involved in the bidding processes, he was quoted as saying in France Football on Tuesday.

Garcia, a former US Attorney in New York, is examining allegations of corruption in the voting that led to the awarding of the two World Cups.