Chelsea and Australian national team goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer criticised FIFA for ignoring player safety concerns when awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
Speaking at a sports business summit in London, Schwarzer said it’s would take multiple players to “drop dead” for FIFA to consider banning summer games in the Middle East.
It’s widely assumed that FIFA will move the 2022 World Cup to winter. However, FIFA gave Qatar the tournament under the assumption that it’d be held in June/July, and that’s still the plan (for now). In addition, there are still World Cup qualifiers taking place in the region during summer. Schwarzer called playing any games (World Cup or not) in the region in summer “ridiculous.”
Here’s Schwarzer’s full rant (via the Sydney Morning Herald):
“I played a game in Oman in June one year and it was [109 degrees Fahrenheit]. Something needs to happen to stop games at that time of year. It is just ridiculous, and it will only happen once probably not just one person, but two or three people drop dead.
“It’s ridiculous, it really is ridiculous to be playing at that time of year and I don’t know why there’s even a debate. A committee went out there and said it was not safe to play, yet they were still awarded [the 2022 World Cup].”
FIFA’s own evaluation of Qatar’s bid called it a “potential health risk” for players and fans.
Qatar’s bid contained a proposal to develop cooling technologies that would keep stadiums at a comfortable 80 degrees during games. FIFA’s evaluation noted that those cooling system were still untested, and four years after Qatar was selected at the 2022 host it’s unclear if those technologies even exist.
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