By Shane McGinley
World Cup winner says the recent death of a footballer in Qatar was just a one-off
Brazilian footballer Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé, has dismissed claims the desert heat in Qatar will make it impossible to play football during the summer months when the Gulf hosts the World Cup in 2022.
“Of course you can play, no problem,” Pele, who has played in three World Cups, told Bloomberg news. Pele grew up playing for Brazilian teams and said he was used to playing in hot conditions and the recent death of Ecuadorian professional footballer Christian Benitez during his debut match with Qatari club Al Jaish was an anomaly and simply “one case out of a billion.”
The awarding the 2022 soccer World Cup to Qatar's desert state has caused much debate in the football world and many have questioned whether the heat, which can reach as high as 50 degrees Celsius in the summer, will be an obstacle to the staging of the tournament.
FIFA executive committee member and former head of the German football federation, Theo Zwanziger, said last month “it was a blatant mistake” to award the 2022 hosting duties to Qatar.
His views come as FIFA president Sepp Blatter repeated his view that the finals could not be played in the traditional summer slot.
Blatter said a month after the decision was taken that he expected the tournament to be moved to the winter. In July he said a summer World Cup in Qatar was out of the question.
Temperatures in Qatar in June and July regularly hit 40C (104f) or higher with 45C (113f) recorded last month.
"You can cool down the stadiums but you can't cool down the whole country and you can't simply cool down the ambience of a World Cup," Blatter told a conference in Austria.
"The players must be able to play in the best conditions to play a good World Cup."
Blatter had previously stressed that any request to change the timing of the 2022 World Cup would have to come from the organisers but said last week that the FIFA executive committee would meet to discuss the issue in October.
â€œOf course you can play, no problem,â€ Pele, who has played in three World Cups.
For him sure is not a problem. The actual players may think differently though. I know this whole "think" concep is hard to grasp
But hey, I am open minded. Put me in your PR roll and I will claim that stadiums will need heating because of the cold outside
Qatari your comment resembles the romans in the colosseum baying for cheap entertainment and fun whilst the horde fights it out on the pitch. Has your nation nothing better to do?
Pele will say whatever he is paid to say. Pele may have palyed in hot weather all his life but his actual world cups were played in Sweden( cool summers), Chile (was winter as they are in Southern Hemisphere) and Mexico (where summer is mild because of the high altitude). The only recent case when players played a world cup in really hot weather was the 1994 one when games in Dallas and Orlando were played in very hot weather and just after noon on top of that to suit tv schedules
Something better to do ? You mean like sending troops to Mali ? France has lots of blood on its hand stop pointing fingers. I would rather listen to Pele about WC2022 than "Anon" from France.
"I remember the craziness of Mexico vs Ireland in oppressive midday heat in Orland. That's Orlando, USA â€¦and 110 degrees pitch side was not a freak occurrenceâ€¦â€ Lee Wellings.
Comparing Orlando USA with Qatar? He simply put his head under the sand in the desert of Qatar. The average temperature range of Orlando is 74 to 92 degrees F in June and July while 106 and 84 for Qatar. Orlando is having a tropical climate with the highest rain fall in June and July (average 7.3 inches or 185.42 mm) while Qatar is having a desert climate with the lowest rain fall of the year in June and July (average 0 inches).