First winter World Cup to be studied

[QATAR 2022] Air-conditioning all or part of Qatar for the 2022 World Cup may not be necessary as FIFA seems to be seriously considering the idea of playing the finals for the first time in winter.

"FIFA's job is to have a World Cup that protects the players so we take note of the recommendations and go through the list of requirements," FIFA President Sepp Blatter told journalists in Qatar in his first visit since the tiny Gulf nation was awarded the World Cup this month. "We will look into this and make the right decision."

Holding the World Cup in winter would involve a change in the international calendar for qualifying and for league play, requiring significant support from leagues around the world.

With temperatures averaging 107 degrees in Doha in the summer, Qatar 2022 proposed air-conditioning stadiums, as well as training venues and fan zones.

It is illegal to work outdoors midday in the summer in Qatar. Many expatriates, who dominate the work force, send their families abroad during the summer.

FIFA executive committee members Franz Beckenbauer and Michel Platini, the UEFA president, both have suggested the idea of moving the tournament dates.

Blatter has also floated the idea of having other Gulf states host games in 2022 but FIFA has reiterated that the support for the idea would have to come from the Qataris themselves.

14 comments about "First winter World Cup to be studied".
  1. Nathan Geason, December 17, 2010 at 8:44 a.m.

    Does anybody really think UEFA, ManU, Barcelona, Inter, Bayern, are really going to OK an interuption to their league schedule? FIFA should do the correct thing and move the World Cup to an a country that can host it. If not the US, that is fine. Australia?

  2. dave kupfer, December 17, 2010 at 9:33 a.m.

    How does allowing this move make the original bid process fair?

  3. Karl Ortmertl, December 17, 2010 at 9:37 a.m.

    Totally disagree. The World Cup is for the world, not Europe alone. To put it on a pure European schedule relegates the rest of the planet to second class status. If that's the case, call it the EATL Cup - the Europe And Their Lessers Cup. This past World Cup would have been much more successful had it been played during January-February. It was played in the dead of winter in South Africa. If it's a World Cup, then it should be played when it's most beneficial to the host country. As far as the Big Boys being upset, it would be easy enough to paint them as the greedy, selfish villains that they would be in this. Certainly, their universal appeal would be hurt tremendously by their self-centered whining - that would affect their international sales, which would adversely affect their bottom lines - all they really care about. An international boycott of their ancillaries would go a long way towards shutting them up.

  4. Karl Ortmertl, December 17, 2010 at 9:40 a.m.

    As for the unfair comment. Why is it fair that only England and the United States get to host world cups?

  5. Gak Foodsource, December 17, 2010 at 10:22 a.m.

    It is looking more and more like the plan all along was to move the tournament to the winter. No, I don't think this move makes the bid process fair - many other nations could have bid for 2018 or 2022 if they knew it could have been held in the winter, for example. But Karl is correct when he argues that the World Cup does not simply go to the countries with the highest technical/infrastructure rating. If FIFA is willing to completely overhaul domestic leagues in every country in order to stage this thing in Qatar, they were clearly convinced by the Qatari claim for a revolution in the Middle East. The US never had a chance. -Gak

  6. David Huff, December 17, 2010 at 11:05 a.m.

    Perhaps it would just be better to cancel the WC in 2022 rather than having it in June or January? It seems like a lot of trouble for the entire world to have to kowtow to the Qatari sheikhs in either disrupting the club schedule that most leagues follow (i.e. not just Europe) or going through extreme climate hell. Or they can hold it and we should just send a practice squad of U-21s to make the point to FIFA of what a joke their WC selection was.

  7. Jase The Ace, December 17, 2010 at 3:25 p.m.

    Whats the problem?

    1. For half of the world (southern hemisphere), its the off season.
    2. All of northern Europe has a 6 week winter break anyway.
    The Netherlands
    All of the Scandinavia

    France,Italy and Spain have at least two or three weeks off.

    So that leaves the Premier League.

    FIFA just tells them they have a choice.

    Ignore the fact that there's a Dec-Jan World Cup and lose your top 100 players for 6 weeks. Or start your season 3 weeks early, take a 6 week winter break and finish 3 weeks late.

    Its not that hard to fathom, except for the English...

  8. David Crowther, December 17, 2010 at 8:42 p.m.

    Personally, I'd love to see the players hit the World Cup in midseason form.

  9. David Mont, December 18, 2010 at 10:28 a.m.

    2 Karl: 1) since when have only England and the US hosted the world cup? As far as I know, and maybe you have better knowledge, either country has hosted world cup exactly once; on the other hand, a number of other countries -- Germany, Italy, France, Mexico -- have done it twice. 2) Why should the European schedule dominate? Well, out of 700 or so players in the WC-10, how many play in Europe? What was the percentage of the european based players in the final game? About a 100, wasn't it? When, let's say, Africa can provide the best conditions for playing football, then maybe the AFC's interest should dominate.
    3) Holding the World Cup in Dec-Jan is not as simple as taking a 6-week winter break. First of all, unless you want a hockey-like Olympic tournament, where some players still play they regular season NHL games when the Olympics have already started and are back playing in the NHL a day or two after it ended, it's much more than just 6 weeks. You need at least 3-4 weeks prior for the training camp and some exhibition games. You need some time for players to rest after the World Cup. Starting the season 3 weeks early and finishing 3 weeks late (and in reality it would have to be more than 3) would force top players to play non-stop for close to two years. This is also a christmas/new year's season -- shouldn't footballers be able to spend it with their families? And what about the logistics of thousands of fans traveling to the competition in December/January? Look at the current travel nightmare in Europe because of snow -- this happens invariably every winter.

  10. Kathy Splifford, December 18, 2010 at 7:11 p.m.

    I have said this before, but since when are true football people complaining about the weather during games? The game is played in ALL conditions. Play it in the summer and let it be hot. The promised Air conditioned stadiums would be comfortable but not necessary. Are air conditioned environments enough or do you still want more? If you want perfect conditions go play checkers. You can play inside and sit down too!
    If moving it, JASE the ace has the best solution. (MLS players leave mid season to play the Cup. They go right back to playing club after the cup.)

  11. Gak Foodsource, December 18, 2010 at 10:51 p.m.

    Kathy, I think there is a difference between having a scheduled game played in bad weather (hot, cold, raining, whatever) and scheduling a game, let alone an entire tournament, for bad weather. The former can be tolerated, the latter comes very close to medical irresponsibility. Moreover, equally important as the health of its players is the safety and well-being of its fans. I understand FIFA cannot control who goes to Qatar and whether they hydrate themselves, but again, FIFA chose to put the tournament in a location where they were would be significant health and safety risks. All it takes is one mistake for this to be a tragic error. FIFA knows how many people attend the World Cup, and to invite more than 400,000 people to the desert in June/July is insane to me.

  12. David Mont, December 19, 2010 at 8:07 a.m.

    Kathy, would you like to try to play a game of football in a 110 degree heat?

  13. Kathy Splifford, December 19, 2010 at 7:29 p.m.

    @ Gak How did the U.S. host the most well attended World Cup in history when holding it in the middle of summer? The temperature during some of the games was a bit hotter than the avg. temp you are speaking of. @ David No need to try,I have played that heat. 7 games in 2 days to be exact on the 4th of July...and I lived to tell you about it.
    ****from the Qatar bid website:****Each of the five stadiums will harness the power of the suns rays to provide a cool environment for players and fans by converting solar energy into electricity that will then be used to cool both fans and players at the stadiums. When games are not taking place, the solar installations at the stadia will export energy onto the power grid. During matches, the stadia will draw energy from the grid. This is the basis for the stadiums’ carbon-neutrality. Along with the stadiums, we plan to make the cooling technologies we’ve developed available to other countries in hot climates, so that they too can host major sporting events.

  14. David Mont, December 19, 2010 at 9:39 p.m.

    What else does the Qatar bid website promise? Plenty of goals, no refereeing mistakes? Everyone is so impressed by this technological utopia, that even FIFA is talking about holding WC-22 in the winter.

    And Kathy, do tell me, specifically during which WC-94 games the temperature was above 110 degrees? Same ones in which you played 7 games in 2 days?

    Here is a little blurb from Qatar's visitor website (

    "Hottest average temperatures in Qatar peak at around 41 Celsius in June and July. Of course, that doesn’t reflect what it is really like to be out in the sun in the middle of the day when temperatures can reach or pass 50 degrees Celsius.

    It’s also worse in the city, where air-conditioners pump cold air into the houses but hot air into the city.

    The towns are also located in the coastal areas, where there is greater humidity. Everyone who can, leaves Qatar for the summer."

    So, everyone who can leaves Qatar for the summer. Except for people like Kathy who play 7 games in 2 days in temperatures greater than 122 degrees Fahrenheit (which is what 50 degrees Celsius is).

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