FIFA's executive committee has agreed to set up a commission to look into moving the timing of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The tournament has come under scrutiny ever since the host nation was confirmed, amid concerns that the scorching summer temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius will prove unsafe for both players and spectators.
And with calls for the tournament to be moved from its traditional June and July slot to a winter timetable growing pace, the world governing body has now agreed to formally look into a possible switch.
A commission will be drawn from across the major stakeholders - including the Qatar 2022 organisers themselves - although a decision on any potential change to the calendar will not be made until after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Following the two-day executive committee meeting held in Zurich, FIFA president Sepp Blatter confirmed the decision.
"The ExCo decided to launch a consultation process among main stakeholders for Qatar 2022 dates. No decision will be taken before 2014WC," he stated on his official Twitter account.
He added at a press conference: "This is not a binding statement that the tournament should take place in June or July. Because there has been a great deal of noise we have decided now there should be a consultation where we will bring together all the organisations dealing with the organisation of the World Cup.
"We will talk to the leagues, players and clubs but there are other stakeholders and these are economic stakeholders and we should take into account the obligations we have to them.
"Therefore there has to be a deep consultation and a large one with great attention and diplomacy."
The news is likely to split the football world, with Blatter believed to be keen to draw a line under the issue sooner rather than later amid increasing embarrassment for the governing body.
UEFA chief Michel Platini, meanwhile, is among those to have urged caution over a hasty re-arrangement.
"In the end you have to consult all the partners of FIFA, it's not only the executive committee," he said earlier this week.
"The European national associations - 54 of them - are not against changing it to winter, but next time it will be for all the world to discuss. I don't know what will happen.
"The World Cup is in nine years - you have time to get some grey hairs!"
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