The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be played in the European winter, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke has told a French radio station.
"It will be played between November 15 and January 15 at the latest. If it's played between November 15 and the end of December, that is when the weather is most favorable," Valcke, who is Sepp Blatter's deputy, told France Info.
The tournament is traditionally held between June and July, but concerns have been raised over the potential health risks of staging a World Cup during the intense heat of a Qatari summer.
"You're playing in temperatures that are equivalent to a hot spring in Europe," added Valcke, "so playing in an average temperature of 25 degrees (Celsius), perfect for playing football."
FIFA president Blatter has previously said no decision on the scheduling of Qatar 2022 will be made until after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, which will take place between June 12 and July 13.
The FIFA Executive Committee is due to meet at its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland in March and the world governing body distanced itself from Valcke's comments.
"The precise event date is still subject to an ongoing consultation process which involves all main event stakeholders, including both the international football community (FIFA, confederations, member associations, leagues, clubs, players) as well as FIFA's commercial partners," FIFA said in a statement.
"As the event will not be played until eight years' time the consultation process will not be rushed and will be given the necessary time to consider all of the elements relevant for a decision.
"Consequently, no decision will be taken before the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil as agreed by the FIFA Executive Committee."
Valcke's remarks came as a shock to his colleagues within football's corridors of power.
"As far as I'm concerned I am totally surprised by the news today," FIFA vice president Jim Boyce told CNN.
"I had been told that the FIFA Executive Committee is awaiting results of a working party on this issue. I was told no announcement on this would be made until after the World Cup in Brazil."
If the World Cup was to be held between November and January, it would create a logistical headache for many major European leagues and also for the continent's prestigious Champions League competition.