The president of the world football governing body (Fifa) Sepp Blatter confirms the 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar and that a commission will be set up to look into all of the impacts of moving the tournament from its original June/July date to a safer one.
Temperatures can hit 50ºC in Qatar in summer, which has prompted Fifa to consider medical information about the effects of heat on players, officials and spectators.
Blatter announced at a Fifa news conference following a two-day Executive Committee meeting that the world governing body has taken the first step in a process which could lead to hosting a winter World Cup in Qatar in 2022.
The first step is the consultation process, which will involve all the stakeholders of the beautiful game; the players, leagues, clubs and all the associated commercial and media contractors.
The Fifa World Cup 2022 will be played in Qatar. There you have it… Blatter told a media conference in Zurich.
There has been demands for greater consultations from other stakeholders. The European Clubs Association (ECA) has joined the call as they are wary of the cost of hosting the World Cup in the northern hemisphere winter, which may result to rescheduling their domestic league.
The ECA president, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, has suggested that April 2022 would be an alternative while January-February and November-December are also possibilities, although the first two months of the year will also see the Winter Olympics and the American football Superbowl taking place.
American TV network Fox, World Cup right-holders for North America, is understood to be concerned over the commercial implication of any impending move that would see the 2022 showpiece clash with the NFL season, talk more of the Superbowl.
Meanwhile, Blatter earlier tweeted (@SeppBlatter): “No decision will be taken before 2014 WC (World Cup)”.
“We have decided we are going to carry out consultations. These will include all the participants in the World Cup and stakeholders including players, clubs, leagues, national associations confederations and Fifa,” Blatter added.
“There are also economic partners involved be they from marketing, the media and television and we need to bear in mind our obligations to these partners. We need to carry out very deep consultations and investigations and show some diplomacy and wisdom.”
Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported last week that dozens of Nepali workers had died on building sites in Qatar over the summer. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) said 4,000 lives would be at risk before the tournament started and said Qatar’s response of promising to increase the number of labour inspectors was inadequate.
Blatter said FIFA would not turn a blind eye to allegations of abuses of workers’ rights in Qatar.
The Swiss intimated he would visit Qatar and meet the country’s new Emir to “confirm” the World Cup and would raise the issue of the mistreatment of migrant workers.
“I will go with a delegation in the name of the ExCo of Fifa for a courtesy visit but it is also a visit to confirm the World Cup 2022,” he noted.
The Fifa president added that an “intervention” in the working condition can only be done by “Qatar itself” and not the world governing body.
“But I will also touch on this concern which concerns many people in the world and that is the working conditions in that country but we can’t be the ones who can change it.
“It is a responsibility not only for Qatar but the construction companies, and there are many European companies working there. We cannot turn a blind eye but we cannot make a direct intervention – but the Qatar government have confirmed they will do so.”
Fifa Secretary-general, Jerome Valcke, will lead the taskforce set up to explore moving the 2022 World Cup from the northern hemisphere summer to the northern hemisphere winter.