Berlin, Sep 23 (IANS/EFE) A member of the executive committee of international soccer’s governing body, FIFA, said Monday that he doubted the 2022 World Cup would be held in Qatar, on account of its high temperatures and health threats to players and fans.
“I personally think that in the end, the 2022 World Cup will not take place in Qatar,” Efe quoted German member Theo Zwanziger as telling Bild daily Monday.
The former president of the German Soccer Federation said the doctors cannot accept responsibility for a World Cup taking place under those conditions.
Despite Qatari promises to use advanced cooling technologies in stadiums, there are still fears over the health of players and fans. “They may be able to cool the stadiums but a World Cup does not take place only there,” Zwanziger said.
“Fans from around the world will be coming and travelling in this heat and the first life-threatening case will trigger an investigation by state prosecutors. That is not something that FIFA (executive committee) members want to answer for.”
Qatar’s choice to become the first Arab country to host the series has given rise to controversy over the timing and suggestions that it should be held in the winter of 2022 instead of the summer.
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke expressed his agreement to hold the 2022 World Cup some time between Nov 15 and Jan 15, when temperatures in Qatar reach 25 degrees Celsius, equal to a hot spring season in Europe.
During the Qatari summer, however, the thermometer can climb to 50 degrees Celsius.