The head of England’s Football Association told lawmakers Tuesday he is certain the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will not be held in the summer because it would be “too dangerous”.
Greg Dyke, giving evidence to the British parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport select committee, re-iterated his belief that temperatures would be too high to hold World Cup in the Gulf state in the traditional summer months.
The bidding process that saw wealthy Qatar win a vote in 2010 to stage the 2022 World Cup has been overshadowed by bribery allegations.
Concerns have also been raised about playing conditions in Qatar, where summer temperatures can exceed 50 degrees Celsius. Organisers have promised to provide air-conditioned stadiums.
“I am certain it won’t happen in the summer,” Dyke said. “There is no chance it will be held in the summer of 2022 — the discussion is when else it will be held.”
He added: “If you’ve been to Qatar in the summer you can hardly walk in the streets.
“Air-conditioned stadiums are one thing but fans moving around on the streets, in and out of stadiums — it will be too dangerous to have it there in the summer.”
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said he wants the World Cup held in he northern hemisphere winter to avoid the searing temperatures. But no decision is due to be taken until 2015.
Qatar faces a dual controversy with the weather and allegations reported by Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper that Mohamed bin Hammam, a former FIFA vice-president from Qatar, paid more than US$5 million to officials around the world before the 2010 vote to drum up support for the tiny Gulf state.
Qatar’s World Cup organisers deny any wrongdoing.
FIFA, football’s global governing body, has appointed Michael Garcia, a leading United States lawyer, to head a probe into corruption allegations concerning the awarding of both the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 edition to Qatar.
– ‘Blatter will win again’ –
Dyke said Tuesday that reform of FIFA was required but thought it unlikely any major changes would take place while Blatter, the 78-year-old Swiss who has been in power since 1998, remained as president.
Blatter had said he would step down when his current mandate ends next year. But ahead of the World Cup in Brazil, he indicated he would seek re-election.
“If he runs again he will win, but I think it’s unlikely we at the FA would vote for him.”
Dyke added the FA would concentrate on bidding to stage events controlled by UEFA, European football’s governing body, rather than FIFA, in the near future.
England’s bid to stage the 2018 World Cup, ended in failure when they were eliminated in the first round, winning just two votes — one of which was from Geoff Thompson, the English representative on the voting FIFA executive committee.
However, Dyke said calls for the FA to quit FIFA were misplaced.
“I don’t think we should walk out of FIFA because within a week everyone has forgotten you. I don’t think that sort of gesture-politics would help.
“I think trying to reform through UEFA and from the inside is the better way forward,” he said.