The Qatar World Cup will begin on 21 November 2022 and end seven days before Christmas, a compromise position struck between Fifa and global leagues given the intense heat in the Gulf state during the summer.
So if England fans are to congregate once more in parks and public squares to watch their team challenge for the trophy, it may well be mulled wine launched into the air to celebrate goals rather than plastic pints of lager.
With domestic leagues suspended there will be an unusual wintry feel as international teams are assembled and prepare to play. Qatar 2022’s organisers, though, are confident they will put on a World Cup to remember.
“Everybody said the Russia World Cup wouldn’t be great,” said Hassan Al Thawadi, the chief executive of Qatar 2022’s supreme committee.
“The Russia World Cup came along and it blew people’s minds. By the same token, we’re confident of what 2022 is going to show – and it will be a fantastic World Cup. We’ll build upon Russia’s success.”
Fans visiting Qatar to support England will find temperatures in the mid-20s – just as everyone back home is reaching for their winter coats and turning the central heating on.
But Qatar was always billed as a one-off – a chance to stretch football’s borders with the first Arabic tournament.
Normality would be restored once 2026 rolled around. But now we know different.