Qatar chief denies switch claims

Germany’s FIFA member Theo Zwanziger believes the 2022 World Cup will be moved from Qatar due to the extreme temperatures and the threat of legal action.

FIFA has always stressed the World Cup will be in Qatar but is currently looking at moving the dates to the winter.

Tournament organisers insist the only question is ‘when’ it will be held in Qatar and not ‘if’.

Nasser Al Khatere, executive director of communications for Qatar 2022’s supreme committee for delivery & legacy, said in a statement: “Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup in 2022, despite the comments of FIFA Executive Committee member Dr. Zwanziger, which reflect his personal opinion and not that of FIFA.

“The only question now is WHEN, not IF.

Summer or winter, we will be ready. We have proven that a FIFA World Cup in Qatar in the summer is possible with state-of-the-art cooling technology.

“We have demonstrated that our cooling works in outdoor areas beyond stadiums. This summer we welcomed fans in Doha to an open-air Brazil 2014 Fan Zone with temperatures cooled to a comfortable 22 degrees Celsius.”

Zwanziger, who sits on FIFA’s all-powerful executive committee, believes the threat of legal action may force the World Cup to be moved.

He told Sport Bild: “I personally believe that in the end the 2022 World Cup will not take place in Qatar.

“Medical experts say that they cannot accept responsibility for a World Cup taking place under these conditions.

“They may be able to cool the stadiums but a World Cup does not take place only there (in the stadiums).

“Fans from all around the world will be coming and travelling in that heat and the first life-threatening case will trigger an investigation by a state prosecutor.

“That is not something that FIFA executive committee members will want to be responsible for.”

No decision has yet been made on the timing of a winter World Cup but there has already been opposition from leagues and clubs.

Meanwhile, a British MP who has campaigned for FIFA reform has written to the Serious Fraud Office asking that it demands a copy of FIFA ethics investigator Michael Garcia’s report in the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Damian Collins believes the SFO has the right to be given a copy as it has previously investigated corruption allegations made by former FA chairman Lord Triesman.

Judge Hans Joachim-Eckert, the German judge who has the head of the ethics committee’s adjudicatory panel, stated last week that the report’s contents would not be made public.