Qatar hits back: “It’s the right place to host 2022 World Cup”

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After months of disdain and criticism towards the 2022 World Cup being hosted by Qatar, the tiny Middle Eastern nation has finally lashed out at all of the negativity.

Hassan al-Thawadi, Secretary General of the Qatar 2022 Organizing Committee, has refuted claims from FIFA President Sepp Blatter and many other high ranking soccer officials across the globe that having the World Cup in Qatar will be a “mistake.”

Al-Thawadi also said there was “no reason” why Qatar should not hold the games as originally planned, despite all the concerns over the searing summer temperatures and many other issues.

“We’ve worked very, very hard to ensure we’re within the rules of the bidding, within the rules of the hosting agreement,” al-Thawadi said. “At the same time we’re delivering on all the promises that we’ve made. We’re working very hard to deliver it. The commitment is there.”

(MORE: ‘Mistake:’ Sepp Blatter confesses Qatar 2022 error)

And with the event set to be the first-ever World Cup held in the Middle Eastern region, the Qatar 2022 official believes their area of the world is long overdue to host a huge sporting event.

“[Qatar] is the right place, the Middle East is the right place,” al-Thawadi said. “We are representing the Middle East, it is a Middle Eastern World Cup, so it is the right place. The Middle East deserves to host a major tournament.”

When the tiny Arab nation was awarded the tournament back in 2010, many questioned the move by FIFA to allow a country with a population of just 1.9 million and encompassing a meager 4,467.6 square miles to welcome the worlds soccer fans.

(MORE: Mounting pressure vs. Qatar 2022 World Cup, as England heads nations asking for switch)

And in recent months the tournament has come under intense scrutiny as Blatter and FIFA directors are pushing for the competition to be switched to the summer months due to the 120 degree plus heat in the Qatari summer. On top of all that the tragic death of Ecuadorian striker Christian “Chucho” Benitez whilst playing for his new Qatari club El Jaish, raised more question marks about the safety of players in the extreme heat.

And now almost every governing body in world soccer wants the 2022 tournament to switch from a summer to winter World Cup, despite all the upheaval it will cause with their domestic leagues.

Blatter was recently filmed saying that Qatar shouldn’t have been awarded the tournament but then retracted his statement. Regardless, there is serious doubt from the entire soccer community as to whether Qatar has the capability of hosting the 2022 World Cup.

No matter what the host nation says, those doubts won’t evaporate anytime soon.

Mounting pressure vs. Qatar 2022 World Cup, as England heads nations asking for switch

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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.”

(MORE: Qatar to purchase 118 tanks to prepare for 2022 World Cup)

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.

(MORE: Sepp Blatter says 2022 World Cup should be played in winter, here we go…)

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.

(MORE: Tragedy strikes as Ecuador star Christian Benítez, 27, dies in Qatar)

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.

Sepp Blatter says Qatar 2022 World Cup should be played in winter, here we go…

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It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Sepp Blatter.

And FIFA’s President never disappoints.

Blatter has today reiterated his appeal to move the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to the winter to avoid the searing summer heat. Temperatures in the tiny emirate state reach an average of 106 degrees in July and August.

But FIFA decided they wanted to have the World Cup there.

In the past Blatter raised massive concerns about whether or not a World Cup  should take place in the summer in the Middle Eastern country and those issues have come to the fore once more.

Speaking in Austria earlier today, Blatter aired his views. “If this World Cup is to become a party for the people, you can’t play football in the summer. You can cool down the stadiums but you can’t cool down the whole country.”

And Blatter also touched on if they can agree to change the league schedules in pretty much every country across the globe to accommodate a winter World Cup in Qatar. “There is still enough time. I will bring this up to the executive committee.”

You do that, Sepp.

In the original report on Qatar’s bid before they were given the World Cup in 2010, health concerns were raised about them hosting the tournament. But FIFA’s executive committee decided they would give the massive event to Qatar and fancy plans for outside air-conditioned stadiums were waved around triumphantly.

That was then, this is now.

Blatter has never publicly stated if he backed the bid. But with continued comments like this, you have to wonder whether Sepp and the committee are rethinking the decision to host the World Cup there altogether. Qatar has already been in the news this week, with its plans to buy 118 tanks to police the event already causing concern.

(MORE: Qatar set to purchase 118 tanks to prepare for 2022 World Cup)

And if the proposed air-conditioned stadiums don’t work out then there’s a huge problem. It is unsafe for anybody to watch the games and even though the venues may be okay, what about outside?

It has to be in the winter. FIFA knew that when they chose Qatar as the hosts. Surely? But expect this debate to rumble on for many months until a final decision is made.

Safe to say English Premier League, Serie A, La Liga and Bundesliga bosses will not be impressed. The huge upheaval of having to change around their whole season will irritate the purists.

But when all is said and done, who can argue with having a World Cup around Christmas time and then the EPL and other European leagues running throughout the summer months? That’s soccer heaven for most people.

I’m with Sepp on this one. The 2022 World Cup in Qatar has to be in the winter. He should have nothing to discuss with FIFA’s executive committee…

Qatar is hot in the summer doh!

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Now that’s a news flash eh! It’s sort of like saying you get wet in the shower and drinking 10 pints of ESB gets you hammered.

When the decision to host the World Cup in Qatar was made, the first reaction was questions about the heat, actually that was the second reaction, the first was ‘how did that just happen’ but that’s another tale.

So back to the heat in Doha where in the peak summer months it’s hot enough to turn an ice-cold beer into a steamy fondue in seconds. The idea that players, supporters and the like would be able to handle the furnace is ludicrous so the noise to move the tournament is beginning to build

Cuddly uncle Sepp Blatter who thankfully will not be FIFA president by that time has stated that it’s up to the Qatar organizing committee to request an alternative date. His UEFA counterpart, Michel Platini, no stranger to wacky ideas also chipped in with the following today

“I voted for Qatar because they have never organised such a tournament before. If you play in Qatar in December of January, the heat is no longer a problem. In the summer, however, it is impossible to play football when it’s 50 degrees Celsius,”

The trouble I have with this statement is that when Platini voted to decide the host of 2022 he knew that the World Cup is a summer tournament and would be played in the months of June and July.

As we get closer and closer to the point of no return in staging the tournament I can see that it will become the catalyst that ruins FIFA.

Trust me, the contracts have been signed and the lawyers are circling.

More support for a winter World Cup in Qatar

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Despite the Premier League’s hardline opposition to the prospect of playing the 2022 World Cup in Qatar over the winter, league chairman Sir Dave Richards suggested on Tuesday that the Premiership would likely come around to the idea.

Richards, who steps down as the league’s chairman in June, made the claims during a speaking at an event in Qatar: “I think they will play [the World Cup] at a time that is proper for football but they will have to speak to the leagues in Europe. They will have to agree proper times when we can start and finish.

“At the moment it has a tremendous amount of implications for Europe. For us, at this minute, the answer is ‘no’. But, if we take a proper view, we have to find a way to have a winter spell where we don’t play and I think common sense will prevail.”

Richards’ comments fly in the face of not only the Premiership but the majority of Europe, who remain opposed to any tinkering with the established calendar. Richards attempted to support his comments by quoting “medical people” who claim that playing in the Qatari summer could raise health issues due to the heat (Qatar daytime temperatures in the summer can reach 113F.)

The Premier League, however, was quick to gag the chairman’s words when it issued a statement saying, “The Premier League’s view remains unchanged. We are opposed to the concept of a winter World Cup for very obvious practical reasons that would impact on all of European domestic football.”

Richards’ words fall in line with the beliefs of Jim Boyce, Britain’s FIFA vice president, and Jerome Valcke, FIFA’s general secretary, who recently hopped on board with switching to the winter. Boyce noted that other European countries – such as Germany, Russia and Ukraine – already impose a winter break into the schedule so there’s no reason to think England couldn’t do the same.

Despite the fact that Richards has once again gone rogue – a year ago he accused FIFA and UEFA of stealing football from England – it’s hard to argue that playing in the Qatari summer sounds like a good idea. Liability wise, it’s a huge risk. If a player, ref, manager or fan were to drop dead during a match the backlash would be ferocious.

Further, the disruption to domestic leagues would likely be in the range of 60 days, which feels doable. This means starting the 2021-22 Premiership season in late July and ending in early June, which doesn’t feel like a huge adjustment. Heck, it could even prove to be more palatable than the current schedule.

And for those holding out hopes of air conditioned stadiums and robotic cooling clouds, as of now there’s nothing to indicate that these dreams will come to fruition. Then again, the nerds do have 10 years to figure it out.