Qatar plans unaffected by FIFA move

Updated: 2013-10-06 07:08

By Reuters in London (China Daily)

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FIFA's delay in making a decision on the dates for the 2022 Qatar World Cup will not affect the country's plans for the tournament, a senior official said on Friday.

Earlier, FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced soccer's governing body would set up a consultation process to decide whether the finals should be held in the burning hot summer months or moved to the winter.

Blatter said the organization hoped to reach a decision after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and by 2015 at the latest, and admitted he personally took too long to appreciate the problems posed by Qatar's scorching heat.

The lack of a resolution to the problem has not affected Qatar officials who said their preparations, which include plans to use cooling technology in stadiums, training areas and fan zones, were unaltered.

 Qatar plans unaffected by FIFA move

FIFA president Sepp Blatter addresses the media after a meeting of the executive committee in Zurich on Friday. FIFA has launched a consultation process to decide whether to stage the 2022 World Cup in Qatar outside the traditional June-July slot and will not make a decision until next year, Blatter said on Friday. Arnd Wiegmann / Reuters

"For us it doesn't really affect our planning," the organizing committee's communications and marketing director Nasser Al-Khater said in an interview during which he denied the lack of a decision was a frustrating setback.

"Our delivery is based on a summer World Cup in 2022. Regardless of the date, we're going to be delivering and be ready.

"Our cooling technology, which has always been in the plan, which is a major legacy project, will still go ahead," said Al-Khater. "It's not just a legacy for Qatar, it's a legacy for different countries on the globe that have a similar climate.

"For them to be able to utilize this cooling technology for mega events whether that be sporting events or other type of events, I think is a great legacy to give to the world.

"We'll be happy for the tournament to be held in winter, summer, as long as the international football community has a consensus, as long as they are all happy and in agreement, we'll be happy to host it on whichever desired date," said Al-Khater.

Qatar has been hit in recent weeks by allegations of ill-treatment of migrant construction workers.

A report in Britain's Guardian newspaper said dozens of Nepali workers had died during the summer and that laborers were not given sufficient food and water, were housed in cramped and unhygienic conditions and had their passports confiscated.

Al-Khater said workers' rights were already written into the contracts of those involved in Qatar 2022 and organizers would try to ensure these were enforced.

"We always want to make sure anybody working at Qatar 2022 or for a contractor of Qatar 2022 will be treated with dignity, with respect, in a safe and secure environment," he said.

(China Daily 10/06/2013 page11)