By Nick Harris
7 January 2011
As Fifa’s president Sepp Blatter said today that he expects the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to be staged in winter for the safety of the players, Qatar’s 2022 bid website was unavailable, therefore couldn’t remind the world of the promises Qatar made of cooling technologies to allow a summer tournament in heat of 50 degrees.
The site, normally available at this link, was ‘down’, although it isn’t clear at the time of writing whether this is temporary or permanent. A message says: “The fact that you are seeing this page indicates that the website you just visited is either experiencing problems or is undergoing routine maintenance.
“If you would like to let the administrators of this website know that you’ve seen this page instead of the page you expected, you should send them e-mail. In general, mail sent to the name “webmaster” and directed to the website’s domain should reach the appropriate person.”
Qatar has promised to stage a dazzling, technologically brilliant World Cup.
As the tiny Middle East nation promised when bidding: “Qatar 2022 will be a carbon neutral World Cup, utilising sustainable technologies and groundbreaking cooling systems for stadiums, fan zones and training grounds. Fans, players and officials will be able to enjoy cool and comfortable open-air conditions, not exceeding 27 degrees Celsius.”
A press release about Qatar’s bid book at the time of its submission in May is linked here. That releases promises Qatar will share state-of-the-art cooling technologies with the world after 2022; it is not clear whether these technologies will need to be developed now on the scale envisaged, and therefore not clear whether they will exist to be shared.
A winter World Cup will be fiercely opposed by a number of leagues, not least England’s Premier League, but such protests are unlikely to make any difference.
As has been the case in the past, Fifa makes up the rules as it goes along (as it has done with rotation, and with which nations can bid for which tournaments in 2018 and 2022, during the process), and will do so again. Just because of binding commitments and agreements by all bidding parties during the races for 2018 and 2022 doesn’t mean any of them have to matter if Fifa change their mind.
Russia, who won the right to stage the 2018 event, have adapted their bid site at its original address to look forward to being hosts.