Qatar ready for summer or winter World Cup
Qatar is ready to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the summer or winter, the tournament's supreme committee said Friday, following recent calls by international sports figures to move the event to the winter.
"Various figures from the world of football have raised preferences for hosting in the winter.
We are ready to host the World Cup in summer or winter. Our planning is not affected either way, as we are committed to the cooling technologies for legacy reasons, as outlined above," the committee said in a statement on Friday.
Qatar is keen to provide the right atmosphere for players and supporters through measures that are "environmentally sustainable," the committee said.
Statements by several football figures have recently urged FIFA, the world's football governing body, to move the tournament to the winter so as to avoid the hot weather in Qatar during summer when the tournament has regularly been staged.
However, the tournament's supreme committee said it had "committed considerable resources during the bidding process to prove that the cooling technology, which will cool open-air stadiums, training grounds and outdoor fan areas, works," adding that the technology has been installed at Al Sadd stadium since 2008.
The committee said in a statement released Friday that it had joined the race to host the world's football showpiece with "the sole intent" of holding it in the summer.
"We have always reiterated that we bid on the parameters that we would host in the summer of 2022."
"FIFA's technical inspectors attended a Qatari League match at Al Sadd Stadium and experienced the cooling systems. The inspection team also visited the prototype stadium that we built at considerable cost to demonstrate that cooling could be implemented with renewable energy."
The statement added Qatar will go ahead with implementing the technology as it remains committed to forging a legacy that will "enable sport to be played 12 months of the year" in Qatar and countries of similar climate.
The committee said work is going according to the schedule and several milestones have been achieved so far, adding that the country has "committed significant time, money and resources" to achieve its vision.
"Our first new stadium breaks ground this year and five further stadiums are in different stages of planning. We will be making further announcements in the near future concerning our progress regarding infrastructure," the statement read.
"Football is the most popular sport in the Middle East and the people of our region are excited to witness history being made in their part of the world.
We are committed to delivering on the promises we made to FIFA and the international football community through staging a successful FIFA World Cup in 2022 - not only on the pitch, but also off the pitch - on social, human and cultural levels.
"Qatar was awarded in December 2010 the right to host the 2022 World Cup, becoming the first Middle Eastern country to stage the world's biggest football event.