FIFA officials began the first of two meetings in Zurich today to discuss the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. FIFA’s president Sepp Blatter is pushing for a switch from the summer to the winter months so that the tournament dates avoid the extreme heat in the small desert nation.
Traditionally speaking, the World Cup tournament is held from June to July. This schedule is preferential to European leagues that feature the best players from all corners of the globe with their down time occurring in the summer months. With temperatures reaching as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius) in the month of June, Qatar’s heat poses a safety hazard for players and spectators. Blatter wants to consult with a wide range of officials before an official change is made.
Blatter stated in August that he would be “very much surprised” if the board did not reject the idea of conducting the tournament in the Qatari summer. He has hinted at the possibility of starting the tournament in November 2022.
The FIFA board will not only discuss the tournament schedule, they are also examining the human rights of the migrant workers involved in building the tournament’s infrastructure. An estimated 1.2 million foreign workers will be involved in building stadiums, public transportation and hotels throughout Qatar in the lead up to the tournament and there have been allegations of abuse.