Qatar plans unaffected by FIFA move: organizers

Fri Oct 4, 2013 7:27pm EDT
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DOHA (Reuters) - FIFA's delay in making a decision on the dates for the 2022 Qatar World Cup will not affect the country's plans for the tournament, a senior official told Reuters on Friday.

Earlier, FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced that soccer's governing body would set up a consultation process to decide whether the finals should be held in the burning hot summer months or moved to the winter.

Blatter added the organization hoped to reach a decision after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and by 2015 at the latest, and admitted he personally took too long to appreciate the problems posed by Qatar's scorching heat.

The lack of a resolution to the problem has not affected Qatar officials who said their preparations, which include plans to use cooling technology in stadiums, training areas and fan zones, were unaltered.

"For us it doesn't really affect our planning," the organizing committee's communications and marketing director Nasser Al-Khater said in an interview during which he denied the lack of a decision was a frustrating setback.

"Our delivery is based on a summer World Cup in 2022. Regardless of the date, we're going to be delivering and be ready.

"Our cooling technology, which has always been in the plan, which is a major legacy project, will still go ahead," added Al-Khater. "It's not just a legacy for Qatar, it's a legacy for different countries on the globe that have a similar climate.

"For them to be able to utilize this cooling technology for mega events whether that be sporting events or other type of events, I think is a great legacy to give to the world.

"We'll be happy for the tournament to be held in winter, summer, as long as the international football community has a consensus, as long as they are all happy and in agreement, we'll be happy to host it on whichever desired date," said Al-Khater.   Continued...

FIFA President Sepp Blatter adjusts his glasses as he addresses the media after a meeting of the executive committee in Zurich October 4, 2013. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann