During a press conference held on Monday, FIFA suggested two alternative dates for a winter kick-off for the 2022 World Cup to be held in Qatar. The official dates suggested are November/December 2022 or January/February 2022. The talks to have a World Cup take place in the winter instead of the traditional June-August format comes from the sweltering heat during Qatar’s summer months, where the average temperature reaches 120°F in most places with the lows around 86°F.
“As the FIFA Executive Committee has emphasized, the consultation process should not be rushed but instead be given the necessary time to consider all of the elements relevant for a decision. We have made progress at today’s meeting and will continue to work together to find the best solution for football” – said President of the Asian Football Confederation Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa
Players and coaches have spoken out against holding the World Cup in those temperatures, with studies recently showing how dangerous it could be for players to play 90 plus minutes in over 100 degree weather. Water breaks were given frequently during the most recent World Cup in Brazil, and seemed to be successful in keeping players safe in Brazil’s hot and humid summer however water breaks would not be enough in Qatar to ensure player safety.
Instead of relocating the World Cup to a more agreeable climate, FIFA have decided to contemplate a winter kick-off but those in charge of building the stadiums think air-conditioning could also be a viable solution. “I think you can be more clever. It is about air movement, moisture in the air and it is about temperature at the right time of day,” said John Barrow the Populous director at the same conference on Monday.
Despite the controversy surrounding the selection of Qatar, and the unsafe building conditions for those helping get the World Cup ready I think a solution can be reached for future countries who would like to hold the World Cup regardless of summer temperatures. Understandably a decision would need to be reached with all of the various leagues players are playing in during the winter months, but it could open up locations for different places around the world.