After four years of intense controversy and debate in the wake of the 2010 vote to award the tournament to Qatar, a Fifa taskforce decided last month the tournament should start in November to avoid searing summer temperatures which regularly top 50C (122F).
The 2022 World Cup final in Qatar will take place on 18 December, Fifa has confirmed, allowing the English domestic programme to potentially resume on Boxing Day.
Uefa had proposed the World Cup final could take place on 23 December but the Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, swiftly insisted the previously mooted date of 18 December, which also happens to be Qatar’s national day, was likely.
The decision was confirmed during a Fifa executive committee meeting in Zurich on Thursday at which it is understood the Uefa president, Michel Platini, also agreed to the earlier date.
It was also agreed, in principle, that the tournament should be played over a reduced timescale of 28 days.
The Fifa secretary general, Jérôme Valcke, has already admitted that a TV deal with Fox and Telemundo for the 2026 World Cup was effectively concluded to quell dissent over the winter switch in 2022.
The Premier League and other European leagues have been vocal in their opposition to the decision and are now likely to focus on gaining other concessions over the international match calendar.
“I have been on record as saying I fully understand the Premier League wanting to resume their competition on Boxing Day. We are where we are,” said the British Fifa vice president, Jim Boyce.
“There are seven years to prepare for this until 2022. I think it could be a tremendous World Cup because I think players will be fresher than they have ever been. It’s going to be 28 days, it’s not a lifetime. It means starting three weeks earlier and finishing three weeks later for one year.”
Fifa also confirmed that France had been chosen over South Korea to host the 2019 women’s World Cup.
Meanwhile, one of Sepp Blatter’s rivals for the Fifa presidency criticised the incumbent for failing to take part in a mature debate about the future of world football’s governing body.
Amid increased concerns about Blatter’s refusal to engage, the Jordanian Fifa vice president, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, suggested the Fifa president was abdicating his responsibility by failing to debate the future of the game.
Blatter has not only refused to take part in a televised debate with the other three candidates – Ali, former world footballer of the year Luís Figo and the Dutch FA president, Michael van Praag – but his campaign has been all but invisible so far.
A Fifa representative called the BBC and Sky to inform them that their joint proposal for a televised four-way debate had been rejected.
While he has been busy receiving visitors to Fifa HQ in Zurich from football federations around the world, his rivals are understood to be concerned over whether he is using Fifa resources to run his campaign.
“I believe that this election campaign is an opportunity for an open and mature debate about the future direction of Fifa and all four candidates have a responsibility to football to engage in this debate,” said Prince Ali. “The broadcasters’ initiative is a good one and should be supported.”
He has yet to appoint any campaign officials or publish a manifesto but only this week Fifa announced 19 new development projects under its Goal programme worth $19.4m (£13.2m) in funding. Valcke has written to all Fifa staff to remind them that neither they, nor any consultants appointed by or working for the organisation, are permitted to take part in the election campaign before the vote on 29 May.
All four candidates will be in Vienna early next week for Uefa’s Congress. Blatter is expected to address the Congress in his role as Fifa president but has declined to appear alongside the other three candidates.
Platini has already thrown his support behind the three rival candidates and called on Blatter to stand down.