Huge opposition is building against the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
On Friday evening the new head of the English Football Association, Greg Dyke, asked FIFA to move the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to the winter or another country altogether.
The tiny desert nation has been under intense scrutiny ever since it was awarded the mammoth event and now several nations around the world are condemning FIFA’s decisions to take the tournament to Qatar.
FIFA itself deemed Qatar as “high risk” when completing an inspection of the nation’s bid in 2010, with searing summer temperatures in the Persian Gulf often hitting 50 C (120 F).
Dyke hit out at the decision to host the even in Qatar and discussed the FA’s stance.
“The FA’s position will be you can’t play it in summer in Qatar,” said Dyke. “FIFA therefore has two choices … you either move it in time or to another location. Someone should have worked that out in 2010 when it was awarded. It’s genuinely becoming accepted that you can’t play it in Qatar in the summer.”
And to echo Dyke’s comments, the Bundesliga’s chief executive Christian Seifert said that a winter tournament could disrupt European football for three years, slamming FIFA for ignoring “leagues who are effectively the core and the heart of football.” Recently head of FIFA Sepp Blatter has said the notion of a winter World Cup will be discussed by the governing bodies leading heads. But what is their to discuss?
The evidence is stacked up against holding a World Cup in Qatar.So, what are the options at his point?
Well, luckily, we are nine years away from the event taking place. So time’s on our side. But a decision needs to be made, one way or another, by FIFA’s executives very soon. Switching to winter time in Qatar would make the most sense, but many would argue that taking the tournament away from the tiny Arab nation would be the best move. England and the United States of America have been mooted as potential back up host nations.
Air-conditioned outside stadiums were promised in Qatar, so far the technology is still lagging behind for that. The Qatari government has bought 118 tanks and other military equipment to deal with possible terrorist attacks and fan violence. But will fans really be able to function in that type of heat?
Time for Dyke to step in again: “I don’t know how many people have been to Qatar in June – I have,” Dyke said. “The one thing I can tell you is you can’t play a football tournament in Qatar in June. Also, it would be impossible for the fans. Just go out there, wander around in that sort of heat.”
And we have to take another tragic factor on board, as Christian “Chucho” Benítez recently died following a practice game in Qatar. The 27-year-old Ecuadorian forward had just switched to El Jaish from Club America and was use to playing in the extreme heat of Mexico, but he suffered a heart attack and many other issues after playing for the first-time in the relentless Qatari summer heat. As yet, the exact cause of his death hasn’t been linked to the conditions in the Middle Eastern nation, but surely it had to play some factor.
With problems mounting up for Qatar and leading European giants totally opposed to playing the World Cup there at all, where do we go from here?
FIFA has a lot of work to do before the 2022 showpiece tournament. If it remains in Qatar, it simply must be in the winter time. That won’t win FIFA many friends with the top European leagues, but it won’t put fans or players in danger.
But holding a World Cup in 120 degree heat during the Qatari summer, will.