Secretary General of organising committee says technology being developed to cool entire neighbourhoods
The organisers behind Qatar’s 2022 FIFA World Cup have reaffirmed their desire to host the tournament in summer, despite growing concerns over the high temperatures players and fans will face.
Although a number of prominent critics have stated that the tournament should be held in winter, the organisers have consistently said that not only would they successfully develop air conditioned stadiums, they would also be able to cool entire neighbourhoods for visiting fans.
Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary general of the Qatar 2022 supreme committee, has rebuffed corruption allegations and defended the fan experience at the tournament, a report in the UK based newspaper, The Guardian, has said.
“Fans will come. They will experience a Middle Eastern World Cup. They will feel safe, they will feel secure, they will feel comfortable and they will have a lot of fun,” Al Thawadi told the paper.
“They will be physically cool and they will be cool in every sense,” he added.
Qatar will invest around $221bn over the next 10 years in infrastructure projects to prepare the country for the World Cup and Al Thawadi claimed that the cooling technology could be used over a wider area than previously thought.
“There are two cities where the neighbourhoods use active and passive cooling techniques, whether in terms of shading or the way it brings in the wind,” he told the Guardian.
“Blowing in the cooled air is the active aspect but at the same time utilising shading techniques. Part of our commitment is that when fans come in they’ll enjoy their time here. We made that commitment to the world and we can’t back away from it.”
A number of prominent figures, including Michel Platini and Nicholas Sarkozy, have called for the tournament to be shifted to winter, citing concerns over the health of fans and players.
However, any such move would likely cause havoc with the football calendar, and a number of clubs and leagues have resisted such a move.
Al Thawadi said that he would continue to plan for a summer World Cup in Qatar unless FIFA informed him otherwise.