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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Qatar keeps winter World Cup possibility on the table as time to make change runs short

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Qatar is not averse to moving the 2022 World Cup into the cooler winter months – if that is what FIFA and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) would seriously like the country to consider, the president of the Qatar Football Association said on Friday.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani made the remarks to a French media outlet days after UEFA president Michel Platini reiterated his support for such a change, saying that it would be “good for everyone” involved, given Qatar’s searing summer heat.

Al Thani also rejected Platini’s other idea of “sharing” the games with nearby nations.

“I can confirm: Qatar will be the sole host of the 2022 World Cup,” he said.

Also on Friday, Platini met with Qatar’s Emir at Wajbah Palace, QNA reports. But no details on what their conversation entailed was provided.

Back and forth

Officials in the football world have argued about the 2022 World Cup calendar ever since Qatar was awarded the hosting rights two years ago. Playing night matches – as late as 10pm – and moving the games from June and July to November and December have been among the most popular suggestions.

In November, a Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee official said that changing the date of the games wouldn’t be impossible, but added that such decision should be made as quickly as possible.

Probably 2013 or 2014 would be the most realistic deadline for it because international sporting calendars are quite a complex issue so [a decision] makes sense by then,” said secretary general Hassan Al Thawadi.

So perhaps this debate won’t go on for much longer.

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo courtesy of QSA

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