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Sepp Blatter: It's Not Rational to Play the World Cup in Qatar in 106-degree Heat

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter Visits Prague

For once, FIFA president Sepp Blatter deserves a little credit for saying something most people would agree with. Earlier this week he was quoted in France’s L’Equipe newspaper saying how playing the 2022 World Cup during the summer in Qatar might not be such a good idea.

“The World Cup is more than just stadiums, it’s an array of social and cultural activities around the competition,” Blatter said. “What do we do? It’s not rational and reasonable to play in June-July.”

You think? The average temperature in Doha, Qatar, in July is somewhere in the range of 87-106 degrees. Pretty sure this data was readily available before FIFA made its decision to award the 2022 tournament back in December 2010.

The Qatari bid for the World Cup included all sorts of fantastical plans for air-conditioned stadiums. Let’s assume all these shiny objects presented to FIFA clouded their judgement over the climate data. Either that or some giant sacks marked with $$$, since the Qatar bid has been dogged by accusations of bribery, which as of yet have been unsubstantiated.

“Nobody proved that there were payoffs so that Qatar was chosen,” Blatter said.

Qatar may not have bribed anyone to win the 2022 Cup (wink, wink), but there are now growing whispers about how the tiny Gulf state’s is exploiting its migrant work force into near-slavery conditions to help construct many of its new stadiums and infrastructure.

Moving the World Cup from the summer months clearly makes sense, but finding another place on the crowded international soccer calendar could prove difficult. Some form of compromise, so that players aren’t running around for 90 minutes in 100+ degree heat seems like a prudent move, but this being FIFA common sense rarely comes into the equation.

[via AP]

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