Qatar World Cup games to be in three 30min periods?
Stadium developer says Fifa would consider changes if temperatures got dangerously high
The Qatar 2022 World Cup hasn't had the warmest of welcomes from the world's footballing community. Envied for their underdog victory in World Cup bidding last December, mocked for the suggestion that the tournament could be held in the winter and mired in corruption allegations, the Qatar camp has now raised eyebrows again by suggesting that Fifa could allow matches to be played in three 30-minute periods.
Concern has been mounting over whether the Middle East's high temperatures could pose a risk to footballers' health during the tournament. Temperatures can soar above 40C in the summer in Qatar.
The suggestion that a 90-minute match could be split into thirds rather than halves to protect players was revealed by Michael Beavon, the director of Arup Associates. His company is helping develop the zero-carbon solar technology that will cool Qatar's 12 stadiums to a safe air temperature of around 24C.
"There is a moderate risk of heat injury to the players between 24C-29C," Beavon told the Qatar Infrastructure Conference in London according to the Guardian. "But if you go above that you have high and extreme risk of injury. The one thing Fifa do say, although it is for guidance, is if it's 32C they will stop a match and play three 30-minute thirds rather than two 45-minute halves."
He continued: "The reason would be to re-hydrate the players before they could carry on playing. That of course would play havoc with TV schedules and those kind of things. The commitment from Qatar was to provide conditions in the moderate band, so that matches would go ahead and be played as normal. Matches have to be played at an acceptable temperature and in safety so that Fifa do not intervene."
Fifa was quick to distance itself from the suggestion - a spokesman said that "the possibility has not been discussed" and that in any case it would require a change to the official laws of the game to be approved by the International Football Association Board. Nonetheless, the emergence of the proposition is unlikely to bolster the credibility of Qatar as hosts for the 2022 tournament.
To make matters worse for the Arab state, the news came hours after the latest developments in corruption allegations against Mohamed bin Hammam, the recently suspended Fifa executive who played a prominent role on Qatar's World Cup bid in his position as president of the Asian Football Federation. The Guardian reported that a leaked preliminary report from Fifa's independent investigation into corruption said a total of $1m is alleged to have been offered to Caribbean Football Union associations by the Qatari, who was running for Fifa's presidential election ·
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