DOHA: Qatar’s 2022 World Cup organisers have responded firmly to the ‘game’ being played with their hosting by both an increasing number of football politicians and the media.

The Qataris have no intention whatsoever of suggesting that the finals by staged in the winter – as wanted by UEFA president Michel Platini who voted for the Gulf state in December 2010 in the apparent confidence that he could have the date changed – to the confusion of the international sports calendar as well as the European leagues.

A statement from the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee said:

We committed considerable resources during the bidding process to prove that the cooling technology (which will cool open-air stadiums, training grounds and outdoor fan areas) works.  The technology is already in use since 2008 at Al Sadd Stadium.  During the bid we demonstrated that this technology could be powered by renewable energy.

Our bid was based on the sole intent of hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the summer.  FIFA’s technical inspectors attended a Qatari League match at Al Sadd Stadium and experienced the cooling systems.  The inspection team also visited the prototype stadium that we built at considerable cost to demonstrate that cooling could be implemented with renewable energy.

We are offering solutions to keep players and fans cool and comfortable – and developing those solutions to ensure that they are environmentally sustainable.

We will forge ahead with implementing and developing this technology.  Our commitment to this is grounded in the legacy it will offer for Qatar and countries with similar climates.  It will enable sport to be played 12 months of the year.  The application of this technology is not limited to stadiums or sports venues.  It can be applied in public spaces, so outdoor life can be enjoyed all year round, regardless of climate.

Concerning the timing of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, we have always reiterated that we bid on the parameters that we would host in the summer of 2022.  Various figures from the world of football have raised preferences for hosting in the winter.  We are ready to host the World Cup in summer or winter.  Our planning isn’t affected either way, as we are committed to the cooling technologies for legacy reasons, as outlined above.

We are progressing rapidly with our plans, have achieved many of our milestones and have committed significant time, money and resources toward implementing our vision.  Our first new stadium breaks ground this year and five further stadiums are in different stages of planning.  We will be making further announcements in the near future concerning our progress regarding infrastructure.

Football is the most popular sport in the Middle East and the people of our region are excited to witness history being made in their part of the world.  We are committed to delivering on the promises we made to FIFA and the international football community through staging a successful FIFA World Cup in 2022 – not only on the pitch, but also off the pitch – on social, human and cultural levels.

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