Head of UEFA, Michel Platini, has leant his support to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar under two conditions; those of timing and geography.
The European football boss told Bild newspaper: “Because of the heat the World Cup will need to be held in winter. With over 40 degrees (Celsius) playing football is impossible and for the fans it would also be unbearable.
“Also, the neighbouring emirates must be included so that the World Cup is staged throughout the entire region.”
The timing of the 2022 tournament has been an intense topic of conversation since Qatar was controversially awarded the World Cup by FIFA in 2010. Traditionally held in the summer, arguments have taken place as to whether the heat in the Gulf will be too much for players and fans alike. Alternative plans for the first ever winter tournament – when temperatures will be closer to 17 degrees Celsius – have been mooted but as yet there is no working group within FIFA to review the idea.
However, general secretary of FIFA, Jerome Valcke, said recently that if medical reports showed that summer temperatures in Qatar would be dangerously high, then the event could be moved.
On the topic of where the World Cup will take place, critics have questioned whether Qatar has the necessary infrastructure to stage the event.
Countries including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait could be called upon to help stage the tournament by hosting matches and providing accommodation for the huge number of fans which are expected to arrive in the region.
Valcke added that a decision about the logistics of the 2022 World Cup would not be made for at least a few more years, saying: “As long as we have not fixed the international calendar all alternatives are open.
“The international calendar has been agreed for 2015 to 2018, meaning that we kept open all potential for the period 2019 to 2022. We have time.
“I think it would be good to have a final decision about when this World Cup will be played and have an agreement between all the football family but it’s in 2022, nine years, and we have two World Cups to organise in Brazil and Russia, so there is some time.”For all the latest sports news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.