Belfast Telegraph

Sepp Blatter now speaking sense on ill-advised Qatar World Cup

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

With Steven Beacom

Don't get me started on Sepp Blatter. The Fifa president, who makes 'no lady members here' chiefs at Muirfield look enlightened, has been running football on a self serving basis for more years than I care to remember.

But lo and behold I've found a major issue on which he is actually speaking some sense.

Blatter is determined to switch the 2022 World Cup finals to the winter because of the intense Qatar summer heat.

Fifa's decision to stage the finals in Qatar was ridiculous, but we have to make the best of it.

And that means not having players, referees or fans falling over in the middle of the tournament with heat exhaustion – or worse!

There have been health alerts in the UK following several days of consecutive temperatures above 30C.

In Qatar, if the World Cup finals take place in June and July as normal, matches will be played in 40-50C heat!

Yes, the stadiums in Qatar will be air conditioned, though as Blatter correctly points out "you can cool down stadiums but not the whole country".

Surely the football family cannot and must not be allowed to take any risks with the well-being of players, officials and supporters.

And that includes the Premier League who have brazenly declared they are completely against the World Cup move to winter, when temperatures would be at an acceptable 20C, as it would cause major disruption to their fixtures.

Maybe Sepp isn't the most selfish character in football after all!

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph