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Jun 18, 2013

Qatar open to winter World Cup

Qatar 2022 World Cup committee secretary general Hassan Al Thawadi says he is open to hosting football's showpiece event in winter.

Since Qatar was awarded the right to host the 2022 World Cup, debate has raged over temperatures which many consider will be a hinderance to players, officials and spectators, despite air-conditioned stadia.

However, Al Thawadi insists the tournament will be held at the most appropriate time, and in accordance with the wishes of the game's stakeholders.

"There are significant voices in the football community who are saying winter would be perfect," said Al Thawadi at the FT/IFA Business of Football Summit.

"We are willing to have that debate to decide which is the best time. It's the World Cup, it's not Qatar's cup. If we don't sit down and listen to what the world wants, we would be doing an injustice to the World Cup.

"The way I see it, a number of people have spoken about their preference for it to move. It would have to be discussed with the football community."

Many European clubs, meanwhile, have been opposed to a winter World Cup due to scheduling conflicts, and Al Thawadi also moved to ease fears over mid-year temperatures in the Middle East.

"When we bid for the World Cup our intention was always for it to be in June. The weather is not very bad in Doha in June, it's not so bad.

"I've had many people come to Qatar during June and it wasn't the horror story people expected, that they would burst in flames. It's not armageddon," he joked.

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