Qatar World Cup in winter: The pros and cons

Temperatures in the Gulf emirate routinely top 40 degrees C (104 degrees F) when the World Cup traditionally kicks off in June. Picture: AP
Temperatures in the Gulf emirate routinely top 40 degrees C (104 degrees F) when the World Cup traditionally kicks off in June. Picture: AP
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STAGING the 2022 World Cup in November and December is now practically a done deal following the recommendation on Tuesday by a FIFA task force.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of playing the tournament in winter?

Benefits:

1. Keep cool and carry on. Temperatures in Qatar routinely top 40 degrees C (104 degrees F) when the World Cup traditionally kicks off in June. It would be almost unbearable (particularly for northern European teams) to play in those conditions.

2. Health. Playing in the winter is less of a risk than playing extreme summer heat. There were genuine fears that players’ lives would be in danger.

3. Fans. Supporters travelling from other countries will be able to enjoy the tournament in cooler conditions

4. Environment. Qatar organisers had spoken of grand plans for air-conditioning whole stadiums while games were going on if the tournament was to be staged in the summer. This would have been both incredibly expensive and incredibly bad for the environment.

5. Fresher players. Instead of turning up at the World Cup after a long, arduous season, players should be in their prime in November and December.

Drawbacks:

1. Calendar chaos. Staging the World Cup in the middle of domestic league seasons will cause huge disruption for players, clubs and leagues worldwide. A mid-season shut-down for the world’s top leagues is inevitable.

2. Boycott threat. Some leading clubs may refuse to release their players in mid-season

3. Costly. Compensation deals will have to be agreed with the influential European Club Association and European Professional Football Leagues groups.

4. Festive fixtures. The tradition in Scotland and England of playing fixtures over the Christmas and New Year period is under threat. The top leagues in both countries are likely to be in shut-down over this period. Bad for clubs who usually attracts big gates at this time of year.

5. Knock-on effect. It may be difficult to contain the disruption to a single season

SEE ALSO:

SFA forge partnership with World Cup hosts Qatar

FIFA health chief: Winter Qatar World Cup a must

FIFA to be pressed over shortened 2022 World Cup

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