Qatar denies WCup plan for 30-minute match periods

BY foxsports • July 7, 2011

Qatari organizers of the 2022 World Cup dismissed claims by one of its stadium engineers that FIFA could change the timing of matches to help players cope with intense heat.

Dividing matches into three 30-minute periods was never an option, Qatar officials said in a statement Thursday.

''Splitting the games held during the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar has not been discussed at any time,'' the Qatar team said. ''All 64 games in 2022 will be played in carbon neutral, cooled stadiums in two halves of forty-five minutes as per regulations.''

Qatar and FIFA have been sensitive to criticism of 2022 World Cup plans since the tiny emirate won hosting rights last December. The 32 teams are expected to play and train for up to six weeks in June and July when average daytime temperatures hit 108 degrees.

Qatar has promised to equip 12 state-of-the-art venues with air conditioning units to blow cooled air over players and spectators. Plans to air condition team training camps and public viewing areas for thousands of visiting fans have not been outlined in detail.

Engineer Michael Beavon said at a conference in London on Wednesday that FIFA had a ''forward-thinking'' backup plan to divide matches into thirds, giving players more time to rehydrate if stadium temperatures rose above 84 degrees.

Qatari officials responded that the claims by Beavon, a director of Arup Associates, were ''without any foundation.''

''Representatives from Arup are not spokespeople for Qatar 2022,'' the statement said.

FIFA also denied it had contingency plans, insisting ''this possibility has not been discussed.

''In any case, this would require a change in the Laws of the Game, and therefore would have to be analyzed and approved by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in the first place,'' the governing body said.