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Qatar has insisted that it could deliver football’s biggest event as planned in 2022 and the 2010 vote to award the World Cup to the country was the “right decision.”
“Football is the most popular sport in the Middle East and the people of our region deserve the opportunity to have history made in their part of the world,” a Qatar World Cup supreme committee statement was quoted as saying in The Globe and Mail website.
“We are committed to delivering on the promises we made in our successful bid. We are ready to host in summer or winter,” the statement made to The Associated Press said.
The statement follows criticism by English Football Association chairman Greg Dyke who argued that the heat in the emirate could be “very dangerous” and calling on Fifa to find a new location for the World Cup or reschedule it in winter.
“We have always maintained that this issue requires the agreement of the international football community,” the Qatar statement said. “A decision to alter the dates of the 2022 Fifa World Cup would not affect our infrastructure planning.”
Qatar planned to counter the extreme heat by building air-conditioned stadiums, but potential health concerns remain for players, fans and officials travelling around the country.
“The development of environmentally friendly cooling technologies is an important legacy issue for our nation, region and in countries with similar climates,” the statement said after Dyke questioned how air conditioning stadiums fits with a “green policy.”
Qatar successfully saw off rival bids from the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia to land the World Cup.
A summer World Cup in Qatar would be "impossible" because of the searing heat, Dyke had said. "Even if all the stadia are air-conditioned, I think it will be impossible for the fans," he said.
"Just go out there and wander around in that sort of heat. I just don't think it's possible.My position, and I suspect the FA's position, will be: 'You can't play it in the summer.'"
World Cups traditionally take place in June and July when night time temperatures in Qatar are around 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29.4C) with the mercury soaring to well over 100 during the afternoon.
"Fifa have therefore got two choices. They can move it either time-wise or to another location. I suspect either will end up in some sort of litigation. But then someone should have worked that out in 2010 when it was awarded," he said.
"I suspect that the former is more likely than the latter."