Qatar 2022 has maintained that is committed to delivering the cooling technology it promised for its staging of the FIFA World Cup, regardless of whether it remains in its current calendar slot or is switched to a winter event.
Qatar 2022 said that while it is open to a switch to winter dates to lessen the impact of the nation’s sweltering summer temperatures, it is still keen to deliver air-conditioned stadiums using new environmentally-friendly technology. “We bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in summer and are fully committed and working hard to deliver on these promises,” the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee said in a statement on Friday. “If the international football community asks us to move the timetable for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar we are able to do so, but the development and implementation of environmentally-friendly cooling technologies remains an important legacy issue for our nation, region and many countries with similar climates.”
The statement added: “Creating comfortable conditions for public areas, walkways, training pitches and stadiums both during and after the World Cup means being able to play and watch football matches in summer throughout the country. Cooling technology has existed at Jassim bin Hamad (Al Sadd) Stadium since 2008. This June the stadium (in Doha) hosted a FIFA World Cup qualifier in cool and comfortable conditions. We are now in the process of developing and perfecting sustainable cooling technologies … to ensure that our Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup stadia, training grounds and fan zones offer the optimal temperature for players and fans to enjoy the games.”
Speaking following an Executive Committee meeting in Dubrovnik on Friday, UEFA president Michel Platini said his member countries have not fully committed to following his wish of moving Qatar 2022 to a winter tournament. Platini said “probably no decision will be taken” on October 3-4, when FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said his executive committee should decide “in principle” that the tournament cannot be played in its traditional calendar slot. “In terms of the specifics, we don’t know what’s going to happen,” Platini said of the FIFA meeting. It emerged last week that Europe’s national associations had given their overall backing to moving the 2022 World Cup to the winter on the proviso that FIFA consults with football’s major stakeholders before making any final decision. “We haven’t said that we agreed fully,” said Platini, according to the Associated Press. “What will happen, that’s more complicated and it’s hard to discuss.” Meanwhile, Platini hit back at Blatter’s claims that European politicians put pressure on FIFA members to vote for Qatar’s bid to host the World Cup. “With the extraordinary experience Mr. Blatter has, he has only all of a sudden realised there are economic and political influences when we decide who is going to host Olympic Games and so forth,” added Platini. “It’s better late than never I guess.”