Sepp Blatter wants the 2022 World Cup to be played in winter

Ian Walton

Qatar is excessively hot in the summer and their weather is not conducive to high-level soccer. The president of FIFA seems to think that moving the 2022 World Cup to winter is the solution to that problem.

Due to prohibitively hot temperatures in Qatar during the summer, FIFA president Sepp Blatter plans on asking the FIFA executive committee to move the 2022 World Cup to the winter, when the weather is considerably more mild. Blatter has floated this idea before and has implied that he would like to see the event moved to winter, but this is the first time that he has said, definitively, that he will ask the executive committee to consider moving the World Cup:

"If this World Cup is to become a party for the people, you can't play football in the summer. You can cool down the stadiums but you can't cool down the whole country ... There is still enough time. I will bring this up to the executive committee ... We have to protect our partners, our commercial partners, our TV partners. We have to be tough on this."

His first point is an important one. Even though money is no object for Qatar and sufficient technology exists to build air-conditioned stadiums with natural grass that will hold up for the duration of the tournament, that doesn't change the weather outside. It's going to keep a lot of people from traveling to the World Cup and will certainly hurt the experience for those who do.

The logistics of moving the World Cup to winter aren't exactly simple to work out, though. Club teams and national leagues certainly won't be pleased about being asked to take a break of nearly two months in the middle of the season, then compete in the latter half of their seasons with their star players exhausted from participating in the World Cup.

Blatter is also unlikely to be in power for too much longer. He's 77 years old and has hinted at stepping down in the near future. His replacement might insist on playing the World Cup in the summer to avoid creating a logistical nightmare for club football all around the world, regardless of what the executive committee decides under Blatter's reign.

There's also the possibility that the Qatar World Cup could be scrapped altogether. Blatter has been strongly committed to bringing a World Cup to the Middle East for a long time and considers it one of his crowning achievements that Qatar has been selected to host the event, but it was undeniably a haphazard decision that comes with problems that no one has any idea how to solve.

No matter what happens to the Qatar bid and the timing of the 2022 World Cup, a lot of people are going to be unhappy. It's tough to see Blatter and FIFA coming up with a solution that works for everyone.

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