Sport | Football

Summer World Cup in Qatar ‘impossible’, says FA chairman Greg Dyke

English football chief says heat will be too much for fans even if stadia are air-conditioned

  • Reuters
  • Published: 09:46 August 10, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AP
  • English FA chairman Greg Dyke.

London: A summer World Cup in Qatar in 2022 would be “impossible” because of the searing heat, according to new FA chairman Greg Dyke.

“Even if all the stadia are air-conditioned, I think it will be impossible for the fans,” Dyke, who succeeded David Bernstein in July, said at a media briefing in London.

“Just go out there and wander around in that sort of heat. I just don’t think it’s possible.

“My position, and I suspect the FA’s position, will be: ‘You can’t play it in the summer.’” World Cups traditionally take place in June and July when night time temperatures in Qatar are around 29C with the mercury soaring to over 40C during the afternoon.

Fifa’s decision to award the World Cup to Qatar has been heavily criticised and executive committee member Theo Zwanziger, formerly head of the German football federation (DfB) said last month it was a “blatant mistake”.

There have been calls for the tournament to be changed to the northern hemisphere winter which would require a disruption of the major domestic leagues in Europe such as the Premier League and La Liga.

Bernstein was opposed to moving the World Cup to winter.

“The bid was for the World Cup to be played in June and July, and for it then to be moved to the winter would be fundamentally flawed,” he said before stepping down.

“If people want it in the winter, they should bid for it on that basis.” However, Dyke, the former director general of the BBC, believes the change is inevitable, even if it would be deeply unpopular with fans in England.

“Fifa have therefore got two choices. They can move it either time-wise or to another location. I suspect either will end up in some sort of litigation. But then someone should have worked that out in 2010 when it was awarded,” he said.

“I understand the reaction of the Premier League in not wanting to move it, and I have some sympathy with them.

“We didn’t have to choose to give it to Qatar in the summer. But that’s where it is, and I think it will either have to be moved out of the summer or moved to another location.

“I suspect that the former is more likely than the latter.” Earlier this year Fifa’s secretary-general Jerome Valcke admitted the 2022 World Cup could be rescheduled if medical evidence showed players could be harmed by Qatar’s summer heat.

Gulf News