Qatar will not host 2022 World Cup: FIFA official
Theo Zwanziger claims Gulf state's climate too hot for soccer tournament
Qatar will not be hosting the 2022 World Cup of Soccer, FIFA executive committee member Theo Zwanziger told Sport Bild on Monday.
"I personally think that, in the end, the 2022 World Cup will not take place in Qatar," he said, citing the region's sweltering summer climate.
"Medics say that they cannot accept responsibility with a World Cup taking place under these conditions."
Qatar organizers, who won the right to host the tournament in 2010, claim the intense heat, routinely rising above 40 Celsius, will not be a problem because of the cooling technologies it plans to employed in stadiums, training areas and fan zones, there is still widespread concern over the health of the players and visiting supporters.
You can cool down the stadiums but you can't cool down the whole country.- FIFA president Sepp Blatter, July 17, 2014
"They may be able to cool the stadiums," Zwanziger countered, "but a World Cup does not take place only there. 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 ex-co members want to answer for."
FIFA spokesperson Delia Fischer said Zwanziger's comments do not necessarily reflect those of the executive committee.
"He is expressing a personal opinion and he explicitly says so," Fischer said. "We will not comment on a personal opinion."
FIFA president Sepp Blatter, in May, called the selection of Qatar as tournament host "a mistake."
"The Qatar technical report indicated clearly that it is too hot in summer, but the executive committee with quite a big majority decided all the same that the tournament would be in Qatar," Blatter told told Swiss television station RTS.
FIFA reportedly is considering moving the World Cup to January/February 2022 or November/December 2022, but that would disrupt domestic league schedules.
Reaction on Twitter
BREAKING NEWS: FIFA have uncovered evidence suggesting that it may be hot in Qatar. <a href="http://t.co/dj6R1A5e74">http://t.co/dj6R1A5e74</a>—@OwensDamien
So, FIFA might strip of Qatar of 2022 World Cup. Not because of Corruption, not because of Slave Labour, but HEAT. <a href="http://t.co/tyN4y0qZjW">http://t.co/tyN4y0qZjW</a>—@JalalAK_jojo
FIFA insisting Theo Zwanziger's comments are personal opinion only. Still up to ethics panel chair Joachim Eckert to decide on Qatar 2022—@nzerem_c4
With files from Reuters