Qatar would host World Cup in summer or winter

Qatar organizers are pushing ahead with plans to stage the 2022

World Cup in the summer, though they said Friday they are also

willing to host the tournament in the winter.

UEFA President Michel Platini has led calls to play the

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

also move the dates on medical advice.

But 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

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 50 degree C (122 degree F)

desert heat across 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 26 degrees C (79 degrees F).

”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 Friday to concerns expressed by FIFA

medical chief Michel D’Hooghe last week 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,” the Qatar statement said.