Qatar has said that it is fully equipped to host the 2022 Fifa World Cup in the hot summer months of June and July, even as football officials debate a possible tournament switch to the winter.
“We bid for the 2022 Fifa World Cup in summer and are fully committed and working hard to deliver on these promises,” the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee said in a statement.
“If the international football community asks us to move the timetable for the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar we are able to do so, but the development and implementation of environmentally-friendly cooling technologies remains an important legacy issue for our nation, region and many countries with similar climates.”
In a meeting in Croatia last week, European football chiefs agreed that a summer event could not be played in Qatar since temperatures in the Gulf hit almost 50 degrees.
All of Uefa’s 54 member associations supported a winter switch, but wanted further discussion on when the event should take place, said Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce.
“What has come out of this meeting… is an agreement by the Uefa countries that the World Cup cannot be played in Qatar in the summer. Everyone was certainly in agreement about that,” he said. “But what the 54 countries do not want Fifa to do is to make a decision yet on exactly when in the year it is going to be played.”
Fifa’s executive committee is meeting on October 3, and there is a growing likelihood – backed by Fifa president Sepp Blatter – that the 2022 World Cup will shifted to the winter.
However Qatar maintained that it had technologies in place to deal with the soaring summer heat.
“Cooling technology has existed at Jassim bin Hamad (Al Sadd) Stadium since 2008. This June the stadium (in Doha) hosted a FIFA World Cup qualifier in cool and comfortable conditions,” the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee statement said.
“We are now in the process of developing and perfecting sustainable cooling technologies … to ensure that our Qatar 2022 Fifa World Cup stadia, training grounds and fan zones offer the optimal temperature for players and fans to enjoy the games.
“Creating comfortable conditions for public areas, walkways, training pitches and stadiums both during and after the World Cup means being able to play and watch football matches in summer throughout the country,” the statement added.