The year 2022 sounds such a tediously long way off. Two more US presidential elections to survive before then; two more FIFA presidential elections; two more World Cups to worry about, in Brazil and Russia.
Then, and only then, will the game emerge, blinking, into the glare of the sandy summer sunshine of Qatar.
Or will it?
If Michel Platini, president of UEFA and possible next leader of the free football world has his way, the 2022 finals will be staged in the winter to upset the profits forecasts of the sunblock industry.
In any case, 2022 is such a long way off, summer or winter will not rise up the football agenda until at least after FIFA decides in 2015 on replacing or keeping Sepp Blatter in power in Zurich.
Or will it?
All that long-term, far-away complacency in the corridors of power – and particularly western European league and club power – by the words this week of the man who is organising the 2022 World Cup.
Hassan Al Thawadi is – for those more comfortable with the terminology of London 2012 than World Cup 2022 – a sort of Qatari cross between Seb Coe and Paul Deighton. He both fronts up in public and pulls operational levers in private.
In town this week he gave his stock answer to the inevitable question about summer or winter (“Whatever the football community wants, we’ll do it”) . . . then went on to volunteer a challenging timeline for that very decision.
Al Thawadi believes it must be taken inside the next two years to comply with the long-term complexities of the international sporting calendar.
Those leagues (and sporting nations) most affected by a winter switch would be the Big Five: England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
This is not so much because all would expect their national teams to be present in 2022 but rather because their clubs employ the vast majority of all the players of all the 32 finalists.
Their top divisions would have to shut down for a minimum of two months some time between October and December – and their second divisions would not be unaffected either by a World Cup player exodus.
How will that alter the accepted seasonal calendars?
How will the knock-on effect of the football season encroaching into the summer months affect other sports?
How will the absence of action in the Premier League, in La Liga, in the Bundesliga, in Serie A affect all those vast TV contracts which underpin the existence of the club game?
How will TV and sponsor ‘gaps’ affect the survival rate of clubs already deemed financially fragile?
How will fans react to the absence of top-flight club football for two months?
Indeed, once ‘freed’ to spend their autumnal time and money elsewhere for two months, will the fans ever come back?
Qatar 2022 always promised to be a World Cup like no other.
Already it is confronting professional football with issues like no other.
They must be resolved . . . and much sooner than the game’s complacent Establishment may have expected.
Keir Radnedge is one of the foremost observers of international soccer. He has reported at every World Cup since 1966 and is a regular contributor to TV, radio, newspapers and magazines worldwide. He is editor of KeirRadnedge.com and is chairman of the Football Commission of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS). Visit www.KeirRadnedge.com for further information. Follow him on Twitter for more sports industry updates.
The views of our regular columnists are independent, and as such do not represent those of Leaders in Football.