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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Qatar 2022 World Cup organisers preparing for summer tournament despite winter recommendations

Secretary general of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee insists experts are working on cooling technology for stadiums ahead of fixtures which could be played in 40-degree heat.

Organisers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar said today they are preparing to deliver the tournament in the summer despite Fifa indicating that it could be staged in winter.

Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary general of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, said experts are spending “every second of every day” developing the cooling technology for stadiums, training grounds and fanzones in a country where average summer temperatures are more than 40 degrees.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter is among the game’s senior figures who have indicated that the World Cup might have to be moved from the June-July slot promised in the bid.

“We submitted a bid that looks towards hosting the World Cup in the summer,” Al Thawadi told the Leaders in Football conference.

“Our preparations are moving towards that. I know members of the international footballing family have made recommendations that we host the World Cup in the winter.

“If the entire international footballing committee say they want to play it in winter, that will not stop us developing our cooling technology. It outweighs just hosting the World Cup.

“It is being implemented right now on a smaller basis for open air areas. The prototypes are there, the investment and research are there.

“When we said the cooling technology would be developed between now and 2022, we said every second counts, every day in developing the science of the technology. For us, the 10 years are sufficient.”

Al Thawadi insisted Qatar will make allowances for cultural differences in the World Cup, including the desire for western visitors to buy alcohol in a country where it is difficult to buy.

“We have always said and maintained alcohol will be available but it won’t be as readily available as in, say, London,” he said.

“The culture of the Qatari people has to be respected. Any fan who comes to Qatar and wants a drink will be able to buy a drink.”

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