FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke has announced that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will not be held in June/July as it usually is due to the extreme summer heat. The issue has been debated for years now and the scheduling change will force major adjustments to the club football calendar, but accommodating Qatar is apparently taking precedent over all that.
From the BBC:
"The dates for the World Cup (in Qatar) will not be June-July," Valcke told Radio France.
"To be honest, I think it will be held between 15 November 15 and 15 January at the latest.
"If you play between 15 November and the end of December that's the time when the weather conditions are best, when you can play in temperatures equivalent to a warm spring season in Europe, averaging 25 degrees."
Qatar's extravagant plans to combat the heat was supposedly what helped convince FIFA voters to award the tournament to the emirate in the first place. Given this decision, it's worth looking back at these fanciful ideas and laughing at them.
From CNN in December 2010:
Solar thermal collectors and photovoltaic panels on the outside the stadiums and on their roofs will harness energy from the blazing Qatari sun.
It will be used to chill water, which in turn will cool air before it is blown through the stadium, keeping pitch temperatures below 27 C (80 F).
Qatar 2022's bid book director Yasir Al Jamal said it would be the first time these technologies have been combined to keep a stadium cool.
"Stadium seats will be cooled using air pumped at the spectator ankle zone at a temperature of 18 C," he said.
"The same air will also be projected from the back and neck area of the seats, ensuring that each seating row of each stadium provides maximum comfort and enjoyment to fans," he continued.
Jamal said the photovoltaic panels will export electricity to Qatar's national grid, which will make the cooling system carbon neutral.
He added that the same system would be used to cool the competing teams' training facilities.
So there you have it. Not even limitless funds can beat the sun. But it can dupe FIFA.
UPDATE: Proving just how incompetent football's governing body is, FIFA VP Jim Boyce quickly went on TV to contradict Valcke's statements. From Football Italia:
“As it stands it remains in the summer with no decision expected until end of 2014 or March 2015,” he told Sky Sports News.
Translation: "We're going to have to move it, but we just don't want to say it yet. Thanks, Jerome."
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