Expect Winter World Cup Decision Within Two Years, Says Qatar 2022 Chief

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(WFI) Qatar 2022 chief Hassan Al Thawadi says the decision to host the FIFA 2022 World Cup in summer or winter should come in the next two years.

Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary general of the Qatar 22 Supreme Committee(WFI)
Al Thawadi, secretary general of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, was speaking Wednesday at the International Sports Event Management Conference in London.

Since stunning the world by winning the bid in December 2010, senior football figures such as UEFA president Michel Platini have suggested that the finals be switched to the winter to avoid playing in the searing summer heat in the Gulf.

“Our bid was always based on a summer World Cup and we are proceeding with planning for a summer World Cup in 2022,” Al Thawadi told the ISEM delegates. “However, I know there are prominent members of the football community who have raised preferences for the winter, so whatever FIFA and the world football community comes up with, we’re happy to accommodate.”

Part of the bid to host the finals was the promise of cooling technology in stadia, which Al Thawadi said they would continue to develop no matter what the outcome.

It has been suggested that Platini may get his wish to move the tournament after the next FIFA presidential election in which the Frenchman is a favorite to succeed incumbent Sepp Blatter. However, Al Thawadi rejected this notion and maintained the decision would have to come sooner.

“We’ll have to look at it, probably by 2013, 2014, mainly because of the international schedule," he said.

“Nothing is impossible. We could come to it in, say, 2017. But probably 2013 or 2014 would be the most realistic deadline for it because international sporting calendars are quite a complex issue so [a decision] makes sense by then.”

Last month in London, Qatar 2022 bid ambassador Ronald de Boer suggested that it might be a good idea to move the tournament to the winter so that European footballers could get more of a break and avoid playing in the desert heat.

Reported in London by INSIDER's Christian Radnedge

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