By Andy Sambidge
Qatar 2022 chief says no discussions with FIFA to date; adds would not oppose proposal
Qatar remains flexible over dates for the 2022 World Cup and is prepared to move the tournament to the winter months if FIFA asks, a senior official has said.
Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee secretary general Hassan Abdullah al-Thawadi said no such discussions had yet taken place.
“Right now, the plans are on to host the World Cup in summer itself. However, if Fifa asks the organisers to postpone the championship to winter, we won’t oppose the proposal,” al-Thawadi said in comments published by Qatar daily Gulf Times.
Speaking at the Aspire4Sport Conference in Doha he said the country was already working on the air cooling technology to meet the needs of players and fans.
Al-Thawadi said that if a winter World Cup was held in 2022, the technology could be used later for other major events.
He told the conference that he expects about 800,000 foreign fans to visit Qatar during the World Cup.
The 2022 World Cup would be rich in “Middle East flavour", al-Thawadi said, adding: “This World Cup will bridge the gap between East and West as Qatar is strategically located with easy access to both regions."
Dispelling doubts about Qatar’s ability to host the World Cup in 2022 in view of the ongoing turmoil in other parts of the region, he said every region had its own issues.
“Tsunamis have come, earthquakes have occurred and other natural calamities have happened. Does the world come to a grinding halt at any point of time on account of any of such happenings,” he asked.