Qatar will not host the World Cup in 2022, according to Theo Zwanziger, the German member on the executive committee of world football’s governing body FIFA.
“I think that at the end of the day the 2022 World Cup will not take place in Qatar,” Zwanziger said in an interview with Sport Bild Plus.
The former head of the German Football Federation cited high summer temperatures as the reason Qatar would lose the right to host football’s global showpiece.
“As Mr Zwanziger himself says, it’s his personal opinion,” a FIFA spokesman responded to AFP subsidiary SID when asked about the German’s statement.
“Doctors say, and I had insisted on this point in the protocol, that they cannot guarantee that a World Cup can be held in summer in these conditions,” stated Zwanziger.
While Qatar has reportedly developed stadium cooling systems, Zwanziger said “the World Cup involves not only stadiums. There are fans coming from the four corners of the world who will be concerned by the heat.”
“The first incident putting a life in danger will be subject to an investigation. And that, nobody in the FIFA Executive Committee would want to reply to.”
Controversy has plagued FIFA’s awarding of the World Cup to Qatar in 2010, with summer temperatures in the Gulf emirate reaching the upper-40s Celsius.
The idea of switching the World Cup to cooler winter months does not sit comfortably with all officials of Europe’s big leagues.
In July, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett criticized the decision to award Qatar the World Cup after Doha was accused of financing Hamas during Operation Protective Edge.
“Qatar is one of the the greatest state sponsors of terrorism,” Bennett said in an interview with Qatari owned al-Jazeera. “The Hamas headquarters are based in Qatar, Qatar finances Hamas terror activity. Qatar is one of the main sources of unrest right now in the region … The world needs to decide if the World Cup is a cup of soccer or a cup of terror.”
The oil-rich nation has also come under the spotlight over foreign workers’ rights as well as accusations that corruption played a part in winning the right to host the World Cup.
Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper has alleged that former Qatari football boss Mohamed Bin Hammam paid more than $5 million to gain support for the emirate ahead of the vote.
Qatar has strongly denied the allegations.
FIFA’s ethics committee is to announce in early 2015 the results of its investigation into the attribution of not only the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, but also the 2018 edition to Russia.