Qatar World Cup will be 'cool in every sense' says organiser
Tournament in summer of 2022 could feature air conditioning for fan areas as well as stadiums
THE organisers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar have reiterated their intention to hold the tournament in the sweltering summer months, but have promised the fans that the event will be "cool in every sense" with air conditioning not just for stadiums, but entire neighbourhoods.
Speaking at a conference in Doha, Hassan al-Thawadi, the secretary general of the Qatar 2022 supreme committee, declared that they were pressing ahead with their plans to host a summer World Cup and would continue to do so unless instructed otherwise by the "football community".
He added that Qatar's investment in "cooling technology" was paying dividends and brushed aside claims that air conditioning systems were unsustainable for large venues.
"Fans will come. They will experience a middle eastern World Cup," he said. "They will feel safe, they will feel secure, they will feel comfortable and they will have a lot of fun.
"They will be physically cool and they will be cool in every sense."
He told The Guardian that there were already two cities in Qatar that use "active and passive cooling techniques" utilising shade and also blowing in colder air to cool neighbourhoods, and suggested that the methods would be used to reduce the impact of 40-degree temperatures at the tournament.
However, the paper points out that the event, controversially awarded to the tiny Arab state two years ago, is still a high-risk undertaking.
"Fifa faces three challenging World Cups in a row in Brazil, Russia and Qatar and huge question marks remain over the climate and the logistics of the tournament," notes the paper.
But the Daily Mail reports that British sports minister Hugh Robertson has declared himself "seriously impressed" by Qatar's ambitious plans.
He is in Qatar for the forum and told the paper: "Part of the attraction was to see what this phenomenon was all about in the way they won that bid and the way they presented other bids. Quite frankly it's mind-blowing."