With mixed signals coming out of FIFA over the 2022 jamboree, Back of the Net's John Foster clears up the confusion...
Qatar 2022 will be moved to winter to coincide with cooler temperatures in the Gulf state, FIFA yesterday confirmed, while insisting the tournament would also remain in its customary June-July slot.
Senior FIFA officials told reporters that a World Cup falling between November and January would be the most sensible solution to the problem of the searing desert heat, while ruling out any rescheduling of the competition away from its traditional summer home.
“Clearly, a summer World Cup in Qatar is totally unworkable and would demean the whole tournament, while a winter World Cup in Qatar is incredibly problematic and would make a mockery of the whole selection process,” commented FIFA executive Troy Griffin.
“The only solution therefore is to hold the competition twice: once in the winter, and again six months later. That would give ample time for a new qualification tournament for Qatar 2022, while ensuring any problems from the previous Qatar 2022 get ironed out.
“Indeed, the only possible issues would be players collapsing from heat exhaustion, fatigue, and abject confusion, none of which have ever been major considerations for us.”
There have been calls in some quarters for the bids for World Cup 2022 to be re-opened, which Griffin rejected out of hand.
“A lot of associations spent a lot of money preparing their bids,” he said, “Qatar especially. They’d feel very let down by the whole process if we suddenly went back on what we promised them.”
FIFA have clarified that a final decision on the date of the World Cup would not be published until a steering group had gone through the motions of pretending to consult all interested parties, before rubber-stamping whatever Sepp Blatter had already decided.