After months of debate about the wisdom of holding the 2022 World Cup football tournament in Qatar during the height of summer, FIFA’s medical chief has announced that he is not thrilled with the idea. Michel D’Hooghe told The Associated Press that while he has received strong assurances that the solar-powered stadiums and training facilities will be climate controlled, D’Hooghe expressed concern for the thousands of fans who will have to contend with “elevated” temperatures.
’Personally, I think it would be a good thing if we could play this World Cup in better temperatures than in full summer in Qatar,” D’Hooghe said.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter called the dilemma “a problem without a solution” after the medical team met recently in Belgium to determine whether holding the tournament in June would pose a health threat to athletes and fans, according to AP.
Jerome Valcke, the Secretary General of FIFA. said prior to the meeting that the tournament may have to be rescheduled during cooler months if the medical committee deems it necessary.
The athletes will probably be fine, but the spectators will have to travel between cities in temperatures that even locals are unable to withstand. Ask anybody who has been to the Gulf countries in the dead of summer and almost all of them are bound to complaint hat the heat is usually so oppressive it is difficult to even walk a block to fetch groceries.
On the surface it doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Just rearrange the schedule, right? Unfortunately the situation is more complicated than that.
Football clubs around the globe have set schedules that have existed for as long as the sport – more or less – so moving the event to winter would entail an enormous reshuffle.
That being said, FIFA has another nine years to figure it out.
Meanwhile, although the debate will continue and most believe that Qatar should make the decision, FIFA is in no hurry to make any firm commitments either way.
Which is probably a good thing, because who knows what impact climate change will have on the event as it draws near.