Earlier this week, FIFA secretary Jerome Valcke announced in an interview on a French radio station that the 2022 World Cup to be hosted by the nation of Qatar will be played between the months of November and January. This statement by Valcke suggests a solution to the Qatari summers, with temperatures that would be unfitting for the tournament. In response to the announcement, FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce said that a decision has yet to be made by the executive committee of FIFA, whom are supposed to be meeting and making a final decision at the end of 2014, after discussing matters with all governing bodies and officials in the world of soccer.
Other figures have voiced their opinions on this matter since the 2010 announcement that Qatar was to host the tournament. UEFA President Michel Platini has been an advocate for keeping the tournament in the summertime, claiming a winter World Cup would interfere with club leagues and competitions. Qatari officials stand firm that they will be able to cool stadiums to temperatures suitable for players and fans. Hassan Al Thawadi, chief executive of the Qatar 2022 World Cup campaign, has pointed to previous tournaments held in the United States (1994), Mexico (1970, 1986) and Spain (1982) where temperatures were similar to what the projected weather would be during the Qatari summer. Thawadi stated, “Hasn’t the tournament passed off normally each time? And to again bring up this question of the temperature is to ignore the cooling technology that we’ll be installing in stadia and fan zones.”
Not only would a winter tournament be unfitting for soccer clubs around the world, but would be a risk for TV ratings. During a summer when most sports are in the off-season, TV ratings are normally high for the World Cup, whereas a winter schedule would cause conflict among program scheduling. In a winter where, especially in the United States, professional sports such as basketball are in their full swing, and football season is approaching the playoffs and the Super Bowl, an event viewed by more than 100 million people around the world.