Although Qatar successfully won it’s bid to host the World Cup in June or July of 2022 — concerns about player health have surfaced due to Qatar’s hot summer weather. This has compelled Qatar’s organizers to announce a winter option for the mega-event.
The Qatar 2022 supreme committee has issued a statement saying, “concerning the timing of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, we have always reiterated that we bid on the parameters that we would host in the summer of 2022. Various figures from the world of football have raised preferences for hosting in the winter. We are ready to host the World Cup in summer or winter. Our planning isn’t affected either way…”
Several quarters have raised concerns about hosting the tournament in summer, where temperatures can exceed 40 degrees Celsius in June and July. UEFA president Michel Platini firmly opposes a summer World Cup in Qatar. FIFA president Sepp Blatter has clearly explained any request to change the timing of event would have to come from Qatar. The Secretary General of FIFA, Jerome Valcke, believes that the tournament could be rescheduled if there is medical evidence intense heat could harm the players.
Historically, the World Cup has always been held in June and July. Any change in plans would upset the schedule of major European leagues which normally play through the winter. The switch would also force the completion of the qualifying program for the World Cup about six months earlier than normal and impact soccer in all six FIFA confederations. Further, the 2022 Winter Olympics and many other events are also likely to be affected due to any schedule change.
In case the event is moved to the winter months, Qatar’s right to stage the 2022 World Cup could uncover some legal challenges. The losing contenders, namely United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea, have already made it known (unofficially) that they would contemplate such action. Such legal action would be pursued through the FIFA governing body and not a court of law. As FIFA owns the World Cup, its own statutes govern when and where the tournament should be held. The current rule states that the World Cup must be staged in June and/or July.