FIFA executives clash over Qatar

FIFA executives clash over Qatar

Published Nov. 22, 2010 11:49 p.m. ET

A war of words has broken out at the highest level of FIFA over criticism of Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid due to extreme temperatures in the country in June and July.

Mohamed Bin Hammam, the Qatari head of the Asian Football Confederation and a FIFA executive committee member, has pointed the finger at potential heat problems in the United States, who are bid rivals.

His comments come after FIFA's inspectors warned of a potential risk to players and officials from the heat in Qatar, which can top 50 degrees Celsius, and fellow FIFA member Chuck Blazer saying: "You can air-condition a stadium, but I don't see how you can air-condition an entire country."

That was in reference to Qatar's insistence that they would use cooling systems inside the stadiums, and Bin Hammam has now hit back at Blazer's remarks.


Bin Hammam wrote on his personal blog: "When my counterpart asked me about my response to the news that my country's bid was once more criticised due to Qatar's hot weather and the danger it may contribute toward players' and officials' health, I reminded him of two things.

"One: the technological developments and solutions that Qatar would apply to its stadiums in order to overcome the challenges of the heat.

"Two: whether or not he remembers the 1994 World Cup in the United States, where some of the matches were played at midday in temperatures as high as 50 degrees Celsius.

"When he told me that he remembers, I asked him whether or not anyone had criticised the U.S. for putting the players' and officials' health in danger.

"On the contrary, even the American fans forgot about the heat, and, yet, applied for another World Cup posting in less than 16 years from the time they last hosted."

FIFA's inspectors rated Qatar a high overall operation risk to stage the World Cup. The USA were a low risk, but a medium overall legal risk due to a lack of necessary government guarantees.

Australia received the best technical report among 2022 bidders, narrowly ahead of South Korea. Japan also had issues over government guarantees.