FIFA President Sepp Blatter Questions Viability Of 2022 Qatar Summer World Cup
FIFA President Sepp Blatter believes it is "not rational" to play the 2022 World Cup in the summer heat of Qatar, where temperatures can hit 50C (122F), according to the BBC. Air-conditioned stadia "have been planned, but the Swiss has expressed concerns about the implications for people outside the venues." Blatter said, "The World Cup is more than just stadiums, it's an array of social and cultural activities. What do we do? It's not rational and reasonable to play in June-July." The "idea to move the competition away from its traditional time has previously been backed by" UEFA President Michel Platini and world footballers' union FIFPro (BBC, 5/16). The AP reported Blatter "has repeatedly refused to say if he backed Qatar." Blatter said, "Whether it's the right choice, that's up to the executive committee. The problem is knowing whether it can be played in June-July in Qatar." Without directly criticising the decision, Blatter said that "voters were influenced by the pressure to take the World Cup to the Middle East for the first time." He said, "There were interventions at different levels so that it would go to an Arab country. Geopolitics did its work" (AP, 5/15). WORLD FOOTBALL INSIDER wrote Qatar 2022 organizers Thursday "reiterated a previous statement on the summer/winter debate that has swirled around the nation’s World Cup plans since it won hosting rights." A statement said, "Concerning the timing of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, we have always reiterated that we bid on the parameters that we would host in the summer of 2022. Various figures from the world of football have raised preferences for hosting in the winter. We are ready to host the World Cup in summer or winter. Our planning isn’t affected either way, as we are committed to the cooling technologies for legacy reasons" (WORLD FOOTBALL INSIDER, 5/16).
ASEAN: INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL's Mark Baber reported Malaysian FA Deputy President and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Football Federation member Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said that a group of ASEAN sports ministers "have tabled a plan to launch a joint bid to host the World Cup in 2034." Tengku Abdullah said that "he had been asked to head up a committee to oversee the bid process and that ASEAN sports ministers would be meeting on June 19 to discuss the bid" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 5/16).