Holding the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar during summer would be “impossible” and it is likely to be shifted to winter, according to the chairman of the Football Association, Greg Dyke.
“My position, and I suspect the FA’s position, will be: ‘You can’t play it in the summer’,” Dyke told the BBC.
“Even if all the stadia are air-conditioned, I think it will be impossible for the fans,” said Dyke, who visited Qatar in June.
“Just go out there and wander around in that sort of heat. I just don’t think it’s possible.”
Temperatures in Qatar reach between 40 and 50 degree celsius during the peak of summer, when the tournament is scheduled.
“We didn’t have to choose to give it to Qatar in the summer,” said Dyke. “But that’s where it is, and I think it will either have to be moved out of the summer or moved to another location.
“I suspect that the former is more likely than the latter.”
Qatar’s World Cup organising committee has said that it is prepared to host the event during the hot months, and is investing around Dhs371 billion ($101 billion) on infrastructure projects, including air-conditioned stadiums. But several football officials have been calling for a switch to winter.
Last month, FIFA president Sepp Blatter also added his support for a winter tournament. Speaking at a two-day sports conference in Austria he said that FIFA ‘still has time’ to discuss moving the dates of the tournament.
“The executive committee will certainly follow my proposal. Then we will have dealt with the topic for good,” said Blatter, quoted by AFP subsidiary, SID, in Austria.
“The World Cup must be a festival of the people. But for it to be such a festival, you can’t play football in the summer.
“You can cool down the stadiums but you can’t cool down the whole country and you can’t simply cool down the ambience of a World Cup. The players must be able to play in the best conditions to play a good World Cup.”
Qatar has held that it is also willing to host the event in winter, but changing the schedule is expected to disrupt domestic football leagues, with many European sides playing during the winter period.
The Gulf state beat rival nations South Korea, Japan, Australia and the United States and became the first country from the Middle East to win the bid to host the FIFA World Cup.