FIFA president Sepp Blatter has confirmed that the 2022 World Cup final in Qatar should take place no later than 18 December, a stance which could potentially lead to a compromise of sorts with the Premier League over their traditionally packed festive fixtures programme.
In what was perhaps the worst kept secret in professional football, a FIFA taskforce put forward their recommendation for a shortened November-December tournament earlier this week with the final potentially being contested as late as 23 December.
The prospect of the competition being brought to a close so late was not an agreeable one for many, with Jim Boyce, Britain's sole representative on the FIFA executive committee, supporting the idea of a winter World Cup but expressing legitimate concerns regarding the proposed final date.
"I think that is too close to Christmas – that's the only reservation I would have and I would like it a week earlier, but I want to wait until the Fifa executive committee meeting to hear all the details about the dates," he was quoted as saying by The Guardian in the aftermath of the meeting in Doha.
European clubs in general have been unhappy about the obvious disruption that will be caused to their respective domestic footballing calendars as a consequence of switching the tournament from its usual summer slot, and the potential impact of such a late finish would have predictably caused chaos in terms of the organisation of the Premier League and Football League's glut of Christmas and New Year's fixtures.
Blatter does appear to have sympathy with that predicament, however, and was clear in expressing his desire to see the final held no later than 18 December.
"The World Cup will not go on until the 23, definitely not, we have to stop at the 18," he told reporters on 27 February. "I am against going to the 23."
While the 78-year-old's view on the matter is hugely significant, no final decision on the exact dates of the 2022 World Cup is due to be taken until the executive committee meets in Zurich on 19 or 20 March.