The 2022 World Cup will not be held in Qatar because of the scorching temperatures in the Middle East country, FIFA Executive Committee member Theo Zwanziger said.
Although Qatar has insisted that a summer World Cup is viable thanks to cooling technologies it is developing for stadiums, training areas and fan zones, there is still widespread concern over the health of the players and visiting supporters.
“I personally think that in the end the 2022 World Cup will not take place in Qatar,” the German told Sport Bild.
“Medics say that they cannot accept responsibility with a World Cup taking place under these conditions,” the former German football (DFB) chief, who is now a member of the world football’s governing body FIFA that awarded the tournament to Qatar in 2010.
“They may be able to cool the stadiums but a World Cup does not take place only there. Fans from around the world will be coming and travelling in this heat and the first life-threatening case will trigger an investigation by a state prosecutor.
“That is not something that FIFA Exco members want to answer for.”
Qatar 2022 organisers, meanwhile, disagreed with the comments and confirmed that the Gulf state was all set to host the event.
“Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup in 2022, despite comments of Dr Zwanziger, which reflect his personal opinion and not that of FIFA,” Nasser Al Khater, the spokesman for Qatar’s supreme committee for delivery and legacy, said in a press release.
FIFA officials, contacted by Reuters, said Zwanziger was not giving the view of the Executive Committee.
“He is expressing a personal opinion and he explicitly says so,” FIFA spokewoman Delia Fischer said. “We will not comment on a personal opinion.”
FIFA president Sepp Blatter said in May that awarding the World Cup to Qatar was a ‘mistake’ and the tournament would probably have to be held in the European winter.
FIFA is now looking to shift the tournament to a European winter date to avoid the scorching summer where temperatures routinely rise over 40 Celsius.
Both FIFA and Qatar World Cup organisers have also been fending off questions of corruption ever since they were awarded the tournament back in 2010, while Qatar has also been criticised for the conditions provided for migrant workers in the Gulf state.