The Fox Sports division of US network Fox “will not countenance” a Qatari 2022 Fifa World Cup staged between October and December, according to the Mail on Sunday newspaper.
Fox Sports acquired US rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in October 2011 and has underlined that it signed a contract on the basis that Qatar’s tournament would be held in the World Cup’s traditional slot in the football calendar.
Fifa’s executive committee will meet on October 3-4 to discuss the issue of switching the event to a winter date amid fears over the effects of staging the tournament in the high temperatures of the Middle Eastern summer.
A Fox spokesman said: “Fox Sports bought the World Cup rights with the understanding they would be in the summer as they have been since the 1930s.”
Fox would not comment on potential legal action if the 2022 event moves to winter, but a network insider said the broadcaster “will not countenance” a World Cup being given prominence on US television between October and December.
This period coincides with the start of season for a number of major US sports leagues, including American football’s NFL.
Fifa achieved its largest single increase in the US, at 159 per cent, from $425m (€322m) to $1.1bn for the rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Fox was responsible for between $425m and $450m of the fee. Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo, owned by US media company NBCUniversal, secured the Spanish-language rights to the two tournaments for $600m.