Qatar plans 2020 WCup in summer, but flexible

Qatar organizers are pushing ahead with plans to hold the 2022

World Cup in the summer, although they’re willing to host in the

winter.

UEFA President Michel Platini has led calls to play the

tournament in the cooler winter months. FIFA’s ruling body also

could move the dates because of medical concerns about the desert

heat.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter said Thursday that Qatar would have

to request a shift to winter – and the organizers responded that

they are ”committed to delivering on the promises we made to

FIFA” before winning the vote in 2010.

”Our bid was based on the sole intent of hosting the 2022 FIFA

World Cup in the summer,” the Doha-based organizing committee said

Friday in a statement.

”Various figures from the world of football have raised

preferences for hosting in the winter,” the organizers said. ”We

are ready to host the World Cup in summer or winter. Our planning

isn’t affected either way, as we are committed to the cooling

technologies.”

Air-conditioned stadiums to beat the 122-degree heat in June and

July were a defining theme of Qatar’s campaign to take the World

Cup to the Middle East for the first time.

Qatar promised FIFA during the bid process that its 12 World Cup

stadiums could be regulated to 79 degrees.

”We 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,” the

Qatar statement said. ”The technology is already in use since 2008

at Al Sadd Stadium.”

Organizers also responded to concerns expressed last week by

FIFA medical chief Michel D’Hooghe about how fans and officials

would cope in the summer heat.

”We are offering solutions to keep players and fans cool and

comfortable – and developing those solutions to ensure that they

are environmentally sustainable,” organizers said.