Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes it is the game’s supporters and not its biggest stars who are most threatened by the prospect of a 2022 World Cup in Qatar being staged in the summer.
The prospect of a winter World Cup is edging ever closer after the 54 UEFA associations said on Thursday that they are open to the idea of the tournament moving to take place during the middle of the domestic European season.
Wenger insists he is open to the idea of playing the World Cup in the Arabian desert at any time of the year, but he expressed his doubts that supporters could embrace a trip to Qatar amid summer temperatures that regularly top 50 degrees.
“The main worry is for the fans, not the players,” Wenger said. “The players will adapt to circumstances and they are always in good conditions. The problem will be how can the number of fans that go to the World Cup cope with the heat and conditions that are extreme in the summer. It is the only worry.
“I hope that when FIFA made their decisions that they considered that. It is the only worry. The stadiums will be air conditioned, but you cannot have that in every street. Qatar has the financial power to organise that very well and I am open to any idea. FIFA have decided that this is a fantastic project and I believe them.
“I don’t know all the projects, what was submitted to FIFA. They decided at the time of the vote that it would be Qatar and they know that the World Cup is in the summer. It is in the rules of FIFA. I personally supported [the] England [bid], but not very successfully. They voted for Qatar and they have to stand up for it and make sure it’s played in decent conditions.”