Last updated: 24 April, 2014

Qatar to downsize stadium plans

Qatar may build fewer grounds than the scheduled 12 for the 2022 World Cup to reflect the “size of the country”, organisers said Thursday after consulting with world governing body FIFA.

“FIFA decided with the Qatar organising committee to examine a reduction in the number of stadiums that had been fixed at 12 in a manner which is proportional to the size of our country and assure the smooth running of the 64 matches in the tournament,” said a statement.

“As usual FIFA asks organisers to prepare a minimum of eight stadiums.”

Some media reports suggested that only eight grounds will be built as a consequence of rising costs and construction delays.

The 2022 World Cup has been plagued by controversy ever since it was awarded to the tiny Gulf state.

Last weekend, FIFA president Sepp Blatter reiterated his desire for the tournament to be played at the end of the year in the winter rather than in the searing heat of a Gulf summer.

Pressure has been building for it to be moved from its traditional June-July slot due to temperatures which rocket to the high 40 degrees in the Middle East.

A decision will not be taken until 2015.

“The best date would be the end of the year,” Blatter told BeIN Sport television in France.

“One has to remain realistic. If you change because you can’t play in the summer then you must play in winter at the end of the year.”