Qatar 2022 Organisers Dismiss Calls for Winter World Cup

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(WFI) Despite Michel Platini's calls for a winter 2022 World Cup, Qatar organisers tell World Football INSIDER they have no intention of switching the tournament from the summer.

The UEFA president this week reportedly restated his desire to see the Qatar tournament moved from the sizzling heat of a Qatari summer to the winter months. He has made repeated calls for the change since the oil-rich nation secured the World Cup in December 2010.

Former FIFA Ex-Co member Franz Beckbauer is among other leading football executives as well as FIFPro, the worldwide players' union, who have supported Platini’s stance. They point to the health risks for players of training and competing in June-July Qatar temperatures that can soar to 50 ºC.

But Qatar World Cup organisers are not bowing to pressure.

"Our position hasn't changed,” the 2022 tournament organisers told INSIDER in a statement.

“We've always reiterated that we entered the bidding race with the intention of hosting in the summer and are continuing with our plans to deliver a World Cup in the summer unless there is a unified consensus among the international football community for alternative plans."

Platini has claimed in previous comments on Qatar 2022 that Europe's top leagues could cope with a revamp of their schedules to accommodate the FIFA showpiece.

Despite scepticism, Qatar 2022 leaders remain fully confident in the stadium cooling technologies that were at the heart of their bid. They would be used to lower temperatures in stadia and training centres to 27 ºC. However, they are not yet proven technologies.

In February this year, two internationally-renowned stadium architects told INSIDER that it was a complete myth Qatar organisers would struggle to air-condition stadia in the desert heat of a Qatari summer.

Dan Meis, who designed Doha's Sports City Stadium, dismissed the doubters, including Platini and Beckenbauer.

"The cooling is not the greatest technological challenge," Meis told INSIDER. "What is really hard to achieve is to generate that cooling in a sustainable way."

"I believe any notion of controversy on cooling will fade away. It is pretty easy to address with the vision the Qataris have committed to."

AECOM's J Parrish, the former ArupSport director who has worked on the City of Manchester Stadium, now Manchester City's Etihad Stadium, and the Beijing 2008 Olympic stadium, said: "From the work [on cooling technologies] I have been involved in I am confident it can be achieved. The devil will be in the detail but I'm sure it will be properly thought out," he said.

"It's a few years until they absolutely have to start doing these [stadia] so there's time to develop new technologies and enhance the ones already there so that they can do the job more effectively."

By INSIDER’s Mark Bisson

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