FIFA president Sepp Blatter has admitted it was a mistake to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
His reasoning does not revolve around the number of deaths of workers involved in the building of stadiums, nor the outcry over the treatment of migrant workers engaged in preparations for the tournament. Instead, Blatter concedes that summer temperatures in the Gulf state are simply too hot for such matches to be played.
In an interview with Swiss TV station RTS, Blatter said:
Of course, it was a mistake. You know, one makes a lot of mistakes in life. The technical report indicated clearly that it was too hot in summer, but despite that the executive committee decided with quite a big majority that the tournament would be in Qatar.
There have been suggestions that the 2022 World Cup will take place in winter rather than summer months, with FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke saying it could be scheduled “between November 15 and January 15 at the latest”. The decision on whether to move the 2022 tournament from summer to winter will be taken after this year’s World Cup finals.
If the technical report (or even a quick internet search) indicated that Qatar regularly faces daily highs of 106 degrees in July, dropping below 99 degrees only one of every ten days, why would FIFA ever grant the country permission to host the World Cup? June may be a bit cooler, but it’s unlikely it features pleasant playing temperatures.
But don’t worry – Blatter insists that there was nothing untoward about Qatar’s bid, and that the hosting rights were not “bought” from FIFA. The president said, “No, I have never said it was bought, but that it was due to political considerations.”
It was a mistake to award Qatar the World Cup. It was brought about by political considerations – and now other political considerations are causing considerable unease amongst observers. Will Blatter be able to swallow his pride and rescind its offer to allow Qatar to host the 2022 tournament?