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It sounded like a nice idea at first, but FIFA President Sepp Blatter has admitted that it was a mistake to award the 2022 World Cup to the first Middle East country to host the tournament, Qatar. The main issue is that the tournament is traditionally held during the summer months and it will be oppressively hot in Qatar at that time.
“Of course, it was a mistake. You know, one makes a lot of mistakes in life,” Blatter told the Switzerland’s RTS, reports The Guardian. “The technical report indicated clearly that it was too hot in summer, but despite that the executive committee decided with quite a big majority that the tournament would be in Qatar.”
During June and July, the months when the World Cup is usually held, average temperatures in Qatar reach 40 degree C (104 degrees Fahrenheit). With that in mind, FIFA may have to hold the tournament later in the year. During the winter, it averages a balmy 25 degree C (77 degrees Fahrenheit), notes the AFP.
“The best time to play is at the end of the year. You must remain realistic,” Blatter said. “We must play in winter at the end of the year.”
This isn’t the first time that the issue has been brought up since Qatar won the rights to host the tournament. Back in January, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke told a French radio station that it might be scheduled between November, 2022 and January, 2023.
Blatter also rebuffed criticism that Qatar had “bought” the tournament. “No, I have never said it was bought, but that it was due to political considerations,” Blatter said. “We know full well that big French and German companies work in Qatar but they don't just work for the World Cup. The World Cup is only a small part of what is going on in Qatar.”
One of the other key controversies in Qatar is working conditions. According to Deadspin, International Trade Union Confederation estimates that 4,000 migrant workers may die during the construction of the venues. CNN reported earlier this week that the government of the tiny Gulf state has made changes to its labor laws, but critics said that these were not enough.