Three years ago, Qatar won the right to be the first Middle Eastern country to host a World Cup in 2022; after much speculation, FIFA’s Secretary General Jerome Valcke publicly ruled out the possibility that the competition will take place in summer.
Since winning the bid with designs of spectacular solar-powered stadiums, the Emirate has insisted that it will provide comfortable facilities for both athletes and visitors, but Valcke is adamantly against the idea of a summer event.
Previously, the Secretary General recently he said he would defer to medical specialists to determine whether it is safe to hold the games in Qatar in summer, when temperatures average between 95 and 113 degrees Fahrenheit. But on Wednesday, he took a more definitive stance.
“The dates of the World Cup will not be in June or July. I think it will be played between November 15 and January 15 the latest,” he told France Inter Radio on Wednesday.
“If you play between November 15 and, let’s say, the end of December, it’s the time when the weather is the most favourable,” Valcke added.
But it seems that Valcke spoke out of turn, because FIFA was quick to release a statement that no firm decision has been made about when the 2022 World Cup will take place – a reflection, perhaps, of a division within the organization.
“The precise event date is still subject to an ongoing consultation process,” FIFA said in a statement released a short time after Valcke’s comments were splashed around the world. “As the event will not be played until 8 years’ time, the consultation process will not be rushed and will be given the necessary time to consider all of the elements relevant for a decision.”
Qatar’s organizing committee claims it is prepared for anything – a summer or a winter event, ABC News reports.
“During the FIFA Executive Committee meeting in October, it was agreed that FIFA would enter a period of consultation on the ideal time of year to host the World Cup in Qatar — with a recommendation expected after the World Cup in Brazil,” they said on Wednesday.
“We await the outcome of this consultation period. We will be ready to host the World Cup regardless of the outcome.”
This may be one of the most controversial World Cups in history. The weather’s not right, working conditions are said to be akin to modern day slavery, and Zaha Hadid got all kinds of heat for publishing renders of a stadium said to look like a vagina.
It seemed that finally the summer/winter debate had been settled, but apparently not. The confusion ensues. Stay tuned.