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SBD Global/August 5, 2013/International Football

Leader Of Investigation Of World Cup Host Applicants Warned Of Heat In Qatar

Harold Mayne-Nicholls of Chile, the FIFA-appointed expert who "first cautioned about the dangers of taking the 2022 World Cup to Qatar" said that he "made it abundantly clear that playing in the tiny Gulf state would be too hazardous -- but was ignored by the majority of voting members," according to Andrew Warshaw of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. Mayne-Nicholls, who led the FIFA inspection team that examined the credentials of all nine candidates for both the 2018 (won by Russia) and 2022 World Cups, said that "holding the two ballots simultaneously in December 2010 was always going to be a recipe for disaster because of potential deal-making between executive committee members." Although the technical report presented by Mayne-Nicholls and his team "flagged up several flaws about a Qatar World Cup -- not least about the heat -- it was ultimately neglected by FIFA," an oversight that "led directly to the ongoing global debate" over whether to switch the event to winter. Mayne-Nicholls: "We knew Qatar would be very, very risky and we put that in our report." Mayne-Nicholls said that it was "clear from the start, however, that his report -- understood to have put the United States as the top recommendation for 2022 and Russia below several of its rivals for 2018 -- risked being sidelined." Mayne-Nicholls said, "Everyone knows that with two bids going together, you could share votes. If we'd only had one vote, that would have been impossible. I didn't have the authority to push them into accepting what we were saying. I just did my job, I wrote what I saw, and I told them what was and what was not the best option" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 8/2).
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