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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Former FIFA official proposes 1am matches during Qatar World Cup

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

A former senior FIFA official has said that he believes Qatar could still host the 2022 World Cup in the summer, but only if matches were played late at night.

Harold Mayne-Nicholls said that if the tournament took place in May or early June, matches could be scheduled at 7pm, 10pm and 1am Qatar time to avoid the worst of the heat.

This would mean, he acknowledged, that players and fans would “sleep during the day and work during the night.”

This is not the first time that night matches have been proposed. In 2012, FIFA’s Vice President Jim Boyce suggested match kick-offs at 10pm, to take advantage of cooler temperatures.

The later matches may also benefit TV schedules, catching late evening in Europe, early evening in the East coast of the US and early morning in much of Asia.

However, 1am matches are the latest suggestion put forward as FIFA tries to find a suitable slot in the calendar for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup.

The Gulf country won hosting rights to the event based on it being held during its usual period of June/July, but the searing heat and humidity at this time of year have caused many to question this decision.

Night games

Mayne-Nicholls led FIFA’s technical team in examining the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, and at the time warned about Qatar’s suitability to hold a World Cup in the middle of the summer.

The former Chilean football chief is considering challenging current FIFA President Sepp Blatter for the top spot during the organization’s 2015 elections.

This week, he told BBC Sport his solution for a summer tournament was to “play the first games at 7pm, the second games at 10pm and the third matches at 1am.”

“You’d change everything. It would be a couple of hours behind in Europe, and that would help TV. I know it’s not easy. We’d sleep during the day and work during the night.”

He also suggested holding youth tournaments in Qatar during May to see how the idea would work. Temperatures are already on the rise during that month, reaching the 40Cs by the end of May.

Blatter weighs in

Meanwhile, in an interview with French radio station France Info yesterday, Blatter reasserted his preference for the tournament to take place in November/December.

“For me, that is the best solution. We can’t play (the World Cup) in the summer.

The date which is most convenient is end of the year, because to play at the beginning of 2022 is when the Winter Olympics take place,” he said.

“We can lower the temperature in the stadium, but we cannot put the whole country under one roof,” he added, referring to Qatar’s plans to employ high-tech cooling systems in its stadiums, to combat the mid-summer temperatures which can hit nearly 50 degrees.

FIFA’s officials have already opened talks to decide on a date for the Qatar tournament.

Its first consultation with representatives from the six continental confederations, clubs, leagues and players’ unions took place early last month, and a follow-up meeting is scheduled for November.

Three options are on the table – the traditional June/July period, November/December 2022 and also January/February 2022.

Blatter had previously ruled out the last slot, over concerns it would clash with the Winter Olympics, which are traditionally held at this time of year.

However, International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said that Blatter had contacted the IOC to reassure them that there would be no clash of calendars.

Meanwhile, the European clubs and leagues have long voiced their opposition to a Winter World Cup, which would mean introducing an eight-week break at the height of the football season.

Thoughts?

35 COMMENTS

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MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

FIFA again talking about something it knows nothing about. I’ve played matches at midnight in Qatar and the humidity still kills you after 10 mins and I’m not a professional. I can slow down, walk off the pitch or ask to get substituted if I’m feeling off. These guys don’t have this option, they are operating at a much higher pace and level of fitness and just can’t slow down as they are playing for their country.

I’m kinda getting sick of all this now. FIFA should now say either.

1. It’s winter and deal with the fall out.
2. We made a mistake and we will award to somewhere else.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

or more likely 3. It’s summer, deal with it.

Restie
Restie
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

You obviously know what you’re talking about in your capacity as having played a match at midnight in Qatar. I can quote anecdotal evidence too. People play outdoor sports throughout the summer at night. Numerous football tournaments are organised in Ramadan, even when it coincides with the summer months, where people who were fasting play after sundown.

Higher levels of fitness and being professional athletes means that with sufficient acclimatization, playing in humidity is a factor that can be countered, just as high altitude and cold weather playing conditions require their own preparation.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Restie

Yeah playing 20 min halves of a rec game on a small field is exactly the same as a full 90 of a professional game.

Restie
Restie
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

Absolutely not.

Firstly, we can accept that the athletes in these tournaments are of a much lower level of fitness than those of WC caliber and would face greater difficulties in adverse conditions.

Secondly, a smaller pitch is more taxing on a players cardiovascular system since they are more involved in the game and are off the ball a lot less, as well as more frequent crossovers.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Restie

Yes, but they don’t play at professional level. We are idiots for doing it but the doctors would stop IT in any professional sport as a health risk

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago

Will Blatter please send a note to my boss informing them that I will b sleeping all day in order to enjoy the matches at 1am. Idjits, all idjits

From April/May thru September it’s still over 100*F at 1 am with killer humidity.

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

Just for the record. I’m assuming you are using the colloquial /Irish version of idiot. In which case it’s spelt ‘eejit’. 🙂

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Desert Witch

I wasn’t

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago

Years of dog walking in Qatar has taught me that even at 1am in summer it’s still damn hot outside.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

That’s 650 million in Europe alone who will not be watching WC2022 through the night. I’m sure the sponsors and advertisers will be delighted at the prospect. And what fans? There will be no travelling army to Qatar, in fact I firmly believe that Qatar doesn’t want them, and don’t expect the overworked and overtired expats to turn up even if the entry to the matches is free. And yes MIMH is correct, the humidity is almost as punishing as the heat.

brorick
brorick
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

1am is between 10 and 11pm in europe, Im sure there were games during the 2014 world cup that were on just as late..

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  brorick

you’re wrong; 1am in Qatar means midnight in Europe!

brorick
brorick
6 years ago
Reply to  fullmoon07

not quite so simple…see michael fryers message below.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  brorick

whatever anyone else says, to respond to the “brilliant” FIFA mind who proposed still playing at 1am here means midnight in Europe.
Of course being European I know very well that 7pm in Qatar is 6pm in most of Europe, or 10pm is 9!!!! (DA!!) Europeans are very used to have solar time changes, it’s been like this for more 30 years

brorick
brorick
6 years ago
Reply to  fullmoon07

I come from the UK so im used to 2-3 hours difference. but I still dont get your point. Did you have a problem with Brazil hosting the world cup? Im sure that was just as late?

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  brorick

I did not, until the 3 rd match, too late. The same would be 1am in Qatar. But that’s not the point. The problem will be humidity. The issue here is not the time, it is the weather!!!

brorick
brorick
6 years ago
Reply to  fullmoon07

I agree on some nights during June it is too humid (I even said that in another comment)
but the comment I was replying to was stating that its too late for Europe and I was stating its not, and if it was why didnt She/he complain about it being set in Brazil

Guest
Guest
6 years ago
Reply to  fullmoon07

The time in Qatar year round is GMT+3. In the UK in winter its GMT, and in continental Europe its GMT+1

Therefore for a 7pm kickoff in Qatar, the time in the UK and Europe would be 4pm and 5pm respectively. For a 1am kickoff, the time would be 10pm and 11pm in the UK and Europe.

Of course, in some countries in Eastern Europe (such as Bulgaria) you would be correct.

Ben
Ben
6 years ago
Reply to  Guest

The UK is only two hours behind Qatar in the summer.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  Guest

well most of Europe is not on GMT time. So from the last Saturday of March until the last Saturday of October, if we are talking of 1am in the night still means midnight for MOST of Europe. The only other countries with different timings are the UK, Portugual and Canarias Islands in Spain

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

The proposed times are 7pm, 10pm and 1am, which in May will be CEST (UTC+2) for Europe (6pm, 9pm and 12am) and 5pm, 8pm and 11pm for UK summer time (UTC+1). That isn’t too different to the times that the Brazil 2013 matches were shown.

brorick
brorick
6 years ago

Ive played football in Qatar during june at 10pm (and even later)
on some days its not too hot at all and near perfect conditions, on other days it was so humid…just luck at the end of the day.

Shaiju
6 years ago

“We’d sleep during the day and work during the night.” <- this is sick, one more reason to get laid off.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago

Why are footballers so whiney. A gentle nudge on the field they fall to the turf as if they lost a limb. It gets a bit warm, and they suddenly can’t play. This must be the most temperature and humidity sensitive athletes in the world. Record temp for the Australian Open 42.2 – still sold out, still played. Record cold temp for US Football game – Green Bay Wisconsin -20. Marathon de Sables a +50 run through the Sahara. In 1934 the World Cup was played in Italy at regular temps above 40. The weather creates a factor in the game, one that changes the way people play and have to adapt to. What is so wrong with that. Perhaps all future sporting events must be played at only indoor facilities where temperature is perfectly controlled and sweet smelling purified air pumped in with just the right level of oxygen. If this was a World Rugby Tournament the sentiment would be much different. Oh my, what if it rains? Maybe there could be wind? Who knows, there might even be a cloud. At least its not so cold it can’t snow. The kind where the tears in your eyes freeze. Playing at night seems a great idea to me, I would like to see how the game changes in the heat. We saw that a bit in the last World Cup in Brazil. The fans will be fine for sure.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago

OR lets see what science says…….although such factual and statistical components have no weight in DohaNews …

Physiological Responses and Physical Performance during Football in the Heat

Magni Mohr, Lars Nybo, Justin Grantham, Sebastien Racinais

Published: June 19, 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0039202

Purpose

To examine the impact of hot ambient conditions on physical performance and physiological responses during football match-play.

Methods

Two experimental games were completed in temperate (~21°C; CON) and hot ambient conditions (~43°C; HOT). Physical performance was assessed by match analysis in 17 male elite players during the games and a repeated sprint test was conducted after the two game trials. Core and muscle temperature were measured and blood samples were obtained, before and after the games.

Results

Muscle and core temperatures were ~1°C higher (P<0.05) in HOT (40.3±0.1 and 39.5±0.1°C, respectively) compared to CON (39.2±0.1 and 38.3±0.1°C). Average heart rate, plasma lactate concentration, body weight loss as well as post-game sprint performance were similar between the two conditions. Total game distance declined (P14 km⋅h−1) by 26% in HOT compared to CON), but peak sprint speed was 4% higher (P24 km⋅h−1) between CON and HOT. In HOT, success rates for passes and crosses were 8 and 9% higher (P<0.05), respectively, compared to CON. Delta increase in core temperature and absolute core temperature in HOT were correlated to total game distance in the heat (r = 0.85 and r = 0.53, respectively; P<0.05), whereas, total and high intensity distance deficit between CON and HOT were not correlated to absolute or delta changes in muscle or core temperature.

Conclusion

Total game distance and especially high intensity running were lower during a football game in the heat, but these changes were not directly related to the absolute or relative changes in core or muscle temperature. However, peak sprinting speed and execution of successful passes and crosses were improved in the HOT condition.

My comment
My comment
6 years ago

During the world cup in Brazil I cross checked
the weather conditions at some of the matches being played against conditions in
Qatar at the same time. Even though it was winter in Brazil, the conditions in
Manus (in the Amazon rainforest) or Fortaleza in the North East are still hot
and very humid. For example on June 29th The Netherlands played
Mexico in Fortaleza, the shade temperature was about 32degC, the humidity was 85
to 90% and it was full sunshine, this match was the first to have official water
breaks. At the same time in Qatar the shade temperature was 38 degC, humidity
below 65% and it was dark, so no solar gain. So at just 6 degC hotter, much lower
humidity and no sun, playing conditions would have been easier in Qatar during
that match. Here is a quote from Bloomberg news “Sun-Soaked seats at the
Castelao stadium were half-empty during the game as fans sought cover….” International TV broadcast times mean world
cup matches in Qatar will be played after sunset anyway. I am not saying it
will be easy, just putting it in perspective.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

So over this….

Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago

Spoof

Headline: IFC announces that the inaugural World Football
Challenge Cup 2022 to be co-hosted in four countries!

The break-away International Football Council (IFC) – which
was formed in the turmoil which ensued
after the shock re-election of Sepp Blatter in 2015 – has elected to host their
first ever World Football Challenge Cup tournament in each of the founder
member countries. The decision was taken due to the fact that the Four –
Germany, Italy, England and Spain already have the stadia and infrastructure to
host the tournament, at relatively short notice, without the need for a
significant construction programme.

A spokesman for the
IFC said this was in keeping with their policy of only awarding hosting
rights to countries with not less than
80% capability in place at the time of their bid. “As for future tournaments,
we welcome bids from any country, or groups of neighbouring countries, who can
fulfil the technical criteria at the time of the bidding process.”

When quizzed about the effect the decision would have on
FIFA, and WC2022, he replied “Mum always told me, if you can’t say anything
nice, don’t say anything at all” Then he
laughed so hard he almost choked.

Joke of course – but you never know

Altaf Patel
Altaf Patel
6 years ago

hahahahaha…….

BigDaddyDK
BigDaddyDK
6 years ago

Well, there you go. They finally figured out how to make me fall asleep faster during a soccer match. Put the game on in the middle of the night so I can tune in and cure my insomnia.

DEEM
DEEM
6 years ago

It’s time this was put to bed. Make the decisions – Qatar yes/no….. spring/summer/winter…. and stick to it. There are arguments for and against every scenario you can think of. No single solution will please everyone.
Tough. It is what it is… live with it.
Personally I’m all for it regardless of what time of year, or what time the matches are held. A few years ago when the WC was in South Korea, in the UK we were getting up and going to watch matches in clubs and pubs and at home that kicked off at 0600 in the morning. We managed. it was quite fun actually.
As for the climate, yes… its hot and humid. But we all cope just fine. I have experienced the Qatar cooling solution first hand and I can tell you. It works – on the pitch and in the seats. OK, what about the fans when they are not at a game… horror stories of heat stroke, sunstroke, and various other “epidemics” have been mooted. Is it any different for any of us?
Oh and Qatar is not a footballing Nation… Really???? did you see the hysteria after the U-19 squad paraded their newly won AFC championship trophy yesterday? Open top bus … crowds… traffic chaos, horns blaring – just like any other country in the world.
Make no mistake… Qatar will throw every resource possible at this. It will be an experience no one will ever forget, and could possibly be the most memorable world cup tournament ever. Remember the nay sayers that said it was impossible for London to host an Olympic games? Some of them the same British media that are now campaigning to have the world cup taken away from Qatar. Look how that turned out.
I hope I am still here to see it…. and if I’m not… I am definitely coming back for it.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago
Reply to  DEEM

The difference is that in the eyes of many people this WC is already tainted by the award process.

chinou2
chinou2
6 years ago

Why have I never seen anything about indoor stadiums or retractable roofs for the Qatar World Cup 2022?

Indoor stadiums have been used before!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1994_FIFA_World_Cup#Venues
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silverdome#1994_FIFA_World_Cup_matches

I think retractable roofs (used in Phoenix, AZ – USA w/ similar weather conditions) would be ideal for Qatar.
http://arizona.diamondbacks.mlb.com/ari/ballpark/information/index.jsp?content=roof

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

1am for the first “daily” game? If the European population was wavering as to whether it would watch wc2022 then that would be the clincher. Not a chance.

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