Summer or winter? (foot)ball in Qatar's court

Written by: Biswajeet Panda
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Football goal post
Zurich, Jan 20: Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), on Jan 20, made it clear that they have no plans to modify the international football calendar. The association also emphasised that for the 2022 World Cup to be moved in to the winter, the initiative has to come from the host nation Qatar.

Qatar was awarded the 2022 World cup hosting rights in 2010. But critics pointed out that the soaring mercury in the summer months of the Gulf Arab nation could endanger players' health. The GCC member beat the likes of US, Australia, Japan and South Korea to win the hosting rights.

Temperature in Qatar rarely goes down 35 degree celsius during the summer months and such high temperatures will adversely impact the health of footballers. Winter in Qatar is pleasant without being chilly and is thus considered to be the best time to play football.

If the event is at all shifted to the winter months, then it will leave the European Soccer season in complete disarray as it traditionally takes place between the months of August to May. Coaches and managers have been vocal in their opposition to shift the tournament to winter, thus leaving the matter in a deadlock.

However, Qatar had in its bid for the World Cup hosting rights, presented a plan to air-condition the stadiums and hold it in the months of summer. It remains to be seen if Qatar stays true to its words or if the bosses in football amicably decide to shift the mega event to winter.

Earlier in Jan 2011, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said that he expects the event to be hosted in Winter.

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