Theo Zwanziger warns that high summer temperatures could scupper plans for Middle East’s first World Cup
High summer temperatures in the Middle East region would preclude the possibility of a World Cup in Qatar, a FIFA Executive Committee has claimed, casting further doubt on the Gulf country’s ability to host the tournament.
Theo Zwanziger, a member of FIFA’s Executive Committee, told Sport Bild, a German sports weekly that is regarded as Europe’s biggest sports magazine, that he thought the 2022 World Cup would be moved away from Qatar.
“Medics say that they cannot accept responsibility with a World Cup taking place under these conditions,” the former German football (DFB) chief said. Zwanziger is now a member of world football’s governing body, who had awarded Qatar the World Cup in 2010.
Qatar has insisted that a summer World Cup would be viable because of cooling techniques it was developing for the stadiums, training areas and fan zones. However, there is still tremendous concern over the health of players and visiting supporters.
“They may be able to cool the stadiums, but a World Cup does not take place only there,” Zwanziger warned.
“Fans from around the world will be coming and travelling in this heat and the first life-threatening case will trigger an investigation by a state prosecutor. That is not something that FIFA ExCo members want to answer for.”
There have numerous calls for the bidding process that awarded Qatar the World Cup to be investigated, following allegations of bribery and corruption.
In addition, the GCC member’s treatment of foreign labour has come under scrutiny, with human rights groups criticizing the conditions under which stadiums and associated infrastructure is being built.