Qatar might not host the 2022 FIFA World Cup because it’s too darn hot there.
On Monday, FIFA Executive Committee member Theo Zwanzige said that he doesn’t think Qatar ultimately will host the 2022 World Cup — at any time of year — because of the heat in the Middle Eastern nation.
“I personally think that in the end the 2022 World Cup will not take place in Qatar,” Zwanzige told German newspaper Bild, according to Reuters.
“Medics say that they cannot accept responsibility with a World Cup taking place under these conditions.
In December 2010, FIFA controversially voted to stage the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Allegations of corruption and bribery immediately surfaced, and FIFA claims to have launched an investigation and made reforms to its code of ethics. Qatar also has received intense criticism for alleged widespread violations of human and labor rights surrounding World-Cup construction projects.
But the primary issue around Qatar 2022 is the heat. Temperatures rise as high as 50 degrees C (122 degrees F) during the summer, which puts the health of players and spectators at risk.
Qatar’s organizing committee says it can use cooling technology to stage 2022 World Cup in the summer safely, but Zwanzige said world soccer’s governing body could be held responsible for heat-related injuries suffered outside of stadiums.
“They may be able to cool the stadiums but a World Cup does not take place only there,” Zwanziger said. “Fans from around the world will be coming and traveling 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.”
FIFA is considering staging the 2022 World Cup in the winter months, but the idea has been met with resistance from major European leagues and television networks, as it would disrupt their calendars for at least two seasons.
In May, Sepp Blatter called the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar a “mistake,” but the FIFA president also has said it would be almost impossible to strip the country of the right to host the World Cup.
Zwanziger’s comments suggest there are divisions within FIFA’s all-powerful Executive Committee about how to resolve the Qatar 2022 issue.