Air-Conditioned Stadiums? No! Blatter Advocates 2022 Winter World Cup.

FIFA Executive Committee Meeting.
FIFA Executive Committee Meeting.

Winter World Cup is in the offing, amid plans by the world football governing body to move the 2022 soccer showpiece to the fourth and coldest season of the year.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter is bent on moving the 2022 World Cup to the winter because of the intense Qatar summer heat.

Blatter has planned discussions over the change before the due date as he is determined to vote in favour of it, regardless of the effect it could have on major European leagues and, even the Glo Premier League (NPL), which was restructured to closely match the common European regular season.

“The executive committee will certainly follow my proposal. Then we will have dealt with the topic for good,” Blatter said.

He also feels “we still have enough time” to deliberate on this issue, but does not share the view that football matches should be played in air-conditioned stadiums.

“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.”

Temperatures can hit 50ºC in Qatar in summer, which Blatter said has prompted Fifa to consider medical information about the effects of heat on players.

“There has been a fresh medical investigation into what it would be like to play football there in the summer and we have to take into account the health, not of the spectators, but of the players,” he’s reported to have told Sky Germany.

The head of Qatar’s organising committee, Hassan Al-Thawadi- speaking via video link- told the conference in Austria: “If it’s the wish of the football community to have the World Cup in winter, then we are open to that.”

Moving the World Cup to the winter would significantly impact on the European leagues which would normally be in full swing at that period. However, Nigerian’s will have seen many changes in the kick off of its domestic league seasons in recent times to be bothered by any impending change meted on its calender.

The 2012/13 season, which was scheduled to kick-off last December- was shifted to February and then March 9, when it got off in full swing due to numerous delays and challenges. Nigerians are accustomed to time changes and I doubt if they would argue against the proposed winter World Cup, if it means playing in the best conditions.

“We have to have the courage- that is Fifa’s executive committee- to play this World Cup in the winter and to start to work out now what impact this will have on international calendar,” added Blatter.

“It would only be for one year; afterwards you’d be back to the normal routine. But I will advocate that.”

Meanwhile a statement released by Fifa on Thursday revealed that whether or not to move the 2022 Qatar World Cup to winter will be discussed in October.

“As mentioned by the FIFA President yesterday (Wednesday), he will bring forward the matter of playing the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar in winter to the FIFA executive committee on the occasion of their next meeting scheduled for October 3 and 4, 2013.”

“This matter will now be with the executive committee and we can therefore not comment further before the meeting has taken place,” the statement added.

Qatar defeated bids from South Korea, Japan, Australia and the United States to win a ballot of Fifa’s 22 executive members for the right to host the 2022 World Cup.

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