If the Qatar World Cup takes place in winter, 'no fan is going to be on the street', Joachim Loew says
The coach of the German football team is against moving the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar to the winter to avoid the summer heat, claiming the cold weather would be bad for European fans.
"At the World Cup in 2006, the European Championships in 2008 and the World Cup in 2010, there were millions on the streets ... if the World Cup in 2022 takes place in winter, no fan is going to be on the street if it's minus five degrees," Germany coach Joachim Loew said in an interview with the Sport Bild publication.
"I really do not think that can be done because I also see the tournament from another point of view: that of the fans," he added.
Following the awarding of the tournament to Qatar – the first Arab and Middle Eastern country to host the World Cup – concerns were raised about the impact the summer heat would have on players and fans. While authorities have designed air conditioned stadiums, many have called for the tournament to be moved to winter when temperatures are more accommodating.
Loew’s concerns were also backed up by Barcelona president Sandro Rosell, who said a January/February tournament would disrupt the Spanish season, which does not have a winter break.
"I have to stand up for the Spanish league. The World Cup has to be in June, July," he said. "I don't like to break the Spanish league because it's one of the leagues in Europe that continues in January."
Despite concerns in Germany and Spain, the moving of the tournament to the winter of 2022 has received some high profile backing. FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said he would not object to a January-February World Cup and UEFA president said Michel Platini is also sympathetic to the idea.
England manager Fabio Capello has backed calls to play the 2022 World Cup during the winter, fearing that Qatar's ferocious heat could force players to spend weeks couped up in hotels if the tournament is held in summer.
"It will not be easy for the players to stay all day in the hotel, you can't run around the hotel," he told reporters at an event in Dubai on Tuesday.
"It's a big problem, not only for the training, you have to spend the time, all the day in the hotel, you can't go around to relax, to do something different.
"When you stay together for long time you need to relax to do something different, not only training or playing," he added. "That's why I think it would be a good idea to play in January or February."
Asian Soccer Federation president Mohammed Bin Hamman, a Qatari, reiterated his country's view that June and July would not be a problem.
"I believe our country has submitted a bid where they would like to organise and host the World Cup in June/July and they have actually presented also the solution for the heat challenges," he said.
"So our country actually is ready and willing to host a very comfortable World Cup in the summer season."
But he declined to write off the winter alternative.
"The month of January is a sort of dead season, most of the leagues in Europe are suspended, they are not playing during that time," he said.
"It's not going to affect practically, the leagues or the clubs if they played the World Cup in January."