The world footballers’ union FIFPro has come out in favour of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar being held in winter instead of summer to address concerns about heat in the Gulf state.
Winter temperatures in Qatar are generally in the region of 20 degrees Celsius but this rises up to 50 degrees in the summer.
FIFPro expressed its satisfaction that football’s ruling body FIFA is open to the idea of moving the tournament to solve the problem of heat.
Tijs Tummers, secretary of FIFPro’s technical committee, said Qatar’s high summer temperatures meant the summer was not a suitable time to be in the country, either for players or fans.
“It is not sensible in a country with an average temperature of 41C in June and July, a midday temperature of 50C and, above all, extremely high humidity,” he said in a statement.
“Tourists are advised not to travel to Qatar in the summer months and inhabitants leave the country en masse during this period.” Tummers added that he did not foresee any insurmountable problems in regard to staging the event to winter.
“If you look at what happened last weekend with weather problems in Europe because of heavy snowfall, you could see this as an advantage rather than as a problem,” he said.
“And it might, perhaps, turn out that the players will be fitter at the start of a winter World Cup than was the case last summer at the World Cup in South Africa.”
Qatar was elected on December 2 by FIFA to host the 2022 tournament, the first country from the Arab world to be given the nod.