FIFA president Sepp Blatter will push for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to be moved to the winter after getting a personal taste of the Middle East’s blast furnace climate.
There has been widespread concern over the health dangers posed by staging the tournament in the Gulf in June and July where temperatures rocket to 50 degrees.
Blatter insisted on Wednesday that he will push to have the World Cup moved despite the effects it could have on domestic leagues when the FIFA Executive Committee meets in October.
“The Executive Committee will certainly follow me,” Blatter was quoted by AFP subsidiary, SID, as telling a two-day sports conference in Austria. Blatter said that a recent visit to Jordan and the Palestinian Territories had brought home the dangers of the intense heat.
He expressed his fears despite the Qataris’ ambitious plans to build air-conditioned arenas. “It is clear that you cannot play in this heat in the summer and we have to consider the players,” he said.
“It is certainly possible to cool a stadium, but not an entire country. That’s why we need to have courage in the Executive Committee and to create awareness among the leagues that we need to change something.”
Qatar plans to spend around 65 billion pounds (USD 101 billion, 76 billion euros) on infrastructure projects, including building new high-tech stadiums, which the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee said would likely cost USD 4-5 billion.
Average temperatures in Qatar are markedly cooler in December, with highs of 24C and lows of 15C. In June this year, UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino added his weight to calls for the 2022 World Cup to be staged later in the year. Qatar has already said it was ready to host the World Cup in summer or in winter.
Temperatures in the Gulf in June and July when the World Cup is likely to be held
Highest temperature in December. (The temperature can fall down to 15 degrees)
Amount Qatar plans to spend on infrastructure projects, which includes $4-5 billion on new high-tech stadiums
EPL has blasted proposals to move the 2022 World Cup to winter as “neither workable nor desirable”. The Premier League believes the shift will cause disruption to three seasons — 2021/22 campaign and the ones either side — as well as impacting broadcast contracts.