(Reuters) - Host nation Qatar is happy to accommodate a change in the dates for the 2022 World Cup, while insisting it can still stage the tournament in summer.
Qatar said it was researching and developing cooling technologies which could be used “in our stadiums, training pitches, fan zones and public areas for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”
However, the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee said on Wednesday that it would not object to a move away from the originally scheduled summer tournament if asked.
“If the international football community reaches a consensus to move the event to an alternate date, we are able to accommodate that change,” said the committee in a statement.
“This would not affect our planning and preparation. Our commitment to cooling technologies will continue, for without it certain parts of the world will be denied the right to host such events.”
Despite Qatar’s assurances, there is widespread concern at staging the tournament in the summer and soccer’s governing body FIFA will discuss this week whether to agree in principle to move the competition to a cooler time of year.
Qatar said it already had one cooled stadium at Al Sadd Sports Club and had also built a prototype carbon-neutral stadium using renewable energy-powered cooling technologies.
It said a FIFA inspection team visited both arenas during the run-up to the vote which elected Qatar in 2010.
“We bid for the FIFA World Cup in summer because we saw the opportunity to present solutions for players and fans in our country, and others with similar climates, to enjoy the outdoors in cool, safe and comfortable conditions in the summer months,” the statement added.
“We committed significant time and resources toward proving that we could host the tournament in summer in cool, comfortable and safe conditions.”
Qatar has also been hit by criticism of its treatment of migrant workers after a report in the Guardian newspaper said that dozens of migrant Nepalese workers have died in recent weeks
FIFA said it was concerned at the report which it would also discuss at its executive committee meeting this week.
Reporting by Brian Homewood; editing by Justin Palmer