Qatar would obey a FIFA order to
host a winter World Cup but no discussions have taken place on
switching the 2022 football tournament from the summer, a top bid
official said on Monday.
"Currently our plans are to host the World Cup during the
summer," Hassan al-Thawadi, general-secretary of Qatar 2022
Supreme Committee, told a conference in Doha.
"If FIFA, the international football community, ask for
Qatar to host the World Cup in the winter then we won't be
fighting the football community. As of yet, no such discussions
have been put in place."
Qatar, where summer temperatures top 45 degrees Celsius, was
the surprise winner of a December FIFA vote to choose the 2022
The Gulf state says it will build solar-powered,
air-conditioned stadiums to overcome the sweltering heat,
although the technology remains unproven in a full-size stadium.
A winter World Cup would come mid-season in Europe and the
continent's leagues are likely to fiercely resist such a move.
Whatever the timing, Thawadi estimates 800,000 foreign fans
will visit Qatar during the tournament.
"This World Cup will bridge a gap between East and West,"
said Thawadi, predicting the tournament would accelerate the
growth of the country's private sector.
State-controlled companies dominate the Doha stock exchange
and Qatar's vast wealth is based on liquefied natural gas
Since the FIFA vote, the long-standing leaders of Egypt,
Libya and Tunisia have been ousted, more than 3,500 people have
been killed in Syria during eight months of unrest and Bahrain's
Sunni rulers have conducted a deadly crackdown on its Shia
With 11 years until Qatar hosts the World Cup, the Middle
East's political landscape could change dramatically, but
Thawadi played down concerns.
"We've seen economic turmoil throughout the world, we've
seen riots in England, we've seen significant issues occur in
the EU," he said.
"The world is changing. We have recognised that in our
bid... you have to be ready with contingency plans, but in the
end tsunamis happen, flooding happens, earthquakes happen,
economic turmoil and political turmoil happen. Does that mean
the world is going to stand still? No, it should always
This month, Doha's Al Sadd won the Asian Champions League,
defeating South Korea's Jeonbuk Motors on penalties, and Thawadi
was bullish on Qatar's football prospects.
"Our goal is to qualify [for the World Cup] before 2022," he
said. "By 2022 we will have a very good team.
"You will see Qatari players in La Liga and the Premier
League. Also, you will find young players from Europe looking to
come to the Middle East to play in our leagues here."
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