World Cup 2022 in Qatar and the Energy Debate Over Artificial Clouds

Qatar World Cup 2022For soccer fans (or football in Europe!) The Qatar World Cup Games don’t start for almost a decade, but officials are still kicking the ball around over the irrational choice of tiny, wealthy, overweight Qatar as host nation for 2022 FIFA World Cup. With summer temperatures in Qatar reaching as high as 50°C (122°F),  African and Arab teams might cope, but European athletes would be competing in temperatures double to those they’re accustomed to.

To address health concerns raised before host nation selection, air-conditioned stadiums loomed large in Qatar’s bid, but that only addressed the interior heat problem.  A proposed solar-powered stadium does nothing to offset the energy-guzzling, mechanically cooled venues growing up to support the visiting hordes of players, fans, media, corporate sponsors and the workforce imported to cater to their needs.

“You can cool down the stadiums but you can’t cool down the whole country,” said FIFA President Sepp Blatter, although there was talk of blanketing the Doha skies with artificial clouds to shade the city.

Speaking at a two-day conference on sports, media and economy in Austria, Blatter said, “If this World Cup is to become a party for the people, you can’t play football in the summer.” (Blatter refuses to say if he backed Qatar’s original bid.)

A more realistic solution to overcome the oppressive heat is to switch the 2022 World Cup to a winter event, and, according to the BBC, Blatter has stated his intention to make that happen. The move would likely anger fans, overhauling tradition and disrupting playing schedules for domestic leagues across Europe.

Hassan Al-Thawadi, head of the Qatar organizing committee, said that although Qatar bid for a summer tournament, he would consider a change to another season. “If there is a wish from the football community to move the World Cup to the winter, we are open for it,” said Al-Thawadi, according to the New York Times.

“There is still enough time,” Blatter said. “I will bring this up to the executive committee.”  Stay tuned as this ball goes in and out of play.

112 thoughts on “World Cup 2022 in Qatar and the Energy Debate Over Artificial Clouds

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  31. Laurie Balbo Post author

    jASSIM – Apologies for the misleading title – which refers to old 2011 news that Qatar was indeed exploring creation of fake clouds to shade the sports venue (see one such story from CNN here Judging from lack of more recent media coverage, it seems that idea has been (wisely) abandoned.

    King Kong – I agree that this seems to be an incredible “bait and switch” as the promised energy-gulping cooling technologies are insufficient to counter Qatar’s punishing summer weather. Was there ever precedence for World Cup, Olympics, or other major sporting event switching venues after a venue was chosen?

  32. King Kong

    The title of this report saying “Artificial Clouds” is laughable. Are they naive, or they have really forgotten that there is a 900,000 sq mi Arabian Desert at the west of Qatar? You can use artificial cloud to give a good shade but you can’t stop the hot wind coming from the Arabian Desert. Three years after the FIFA’s Exco members were being misled, there are still many people being cheated.

    The only solution up to the ability of today’s technology is as what the Qatar’s proposal of air-conditioning systems to all the stadia, training facilities, fan-zones and walkways between metro stations and stadiums ( 28 April 2010).

    Don’t tell lies again please.

  33. King Kong

    For the health of players is just a kind of smoke as the Qatar’s bidding document stressed the provision of air conditioning systems that can reduce temperatures from 50 to 27 °C (122 to 81 °F). The bidding committee also proposes to use such cooling technologies in fan-zones, training pitches and walkways between metro stations and stadiums ( 28 April 2010).

    If the Qatar bidding committee is going to eat their words, then FIFA should declare the Qatar’s holding right of the 2022 waived. As such, re-bidding should take place.

    This is the ugliest scandal upright in the public. While FIFA and most decent soccer fans are against match-fixing, this UEFA head wittingly chose a very bad location because of some of his non-monetary-direct reasons, promising in advance that he would change from summer to winter should Qatar won. Even non-monetary-direct, this is a cheat obviously. Why is he so shameless?


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