A member of soccer’s international governing committee predicts that the desert country of Qatar will not be getting the 2022 World Cup, after all.
Several years ago, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) awarded the 2022 games to the oil-rich, Middle Eastern nation. But there were concerns that the high temperatures of the desert region would be bad for players and visitors alike.
The Qatari government says it will put certain cooling technologies into its stadiums that will make players and sports fans comfortable during the games. But FIFA Executive Committee member Theo Zwanziger has now said that he doesn’t think that Qatar will host the tournament.
“I personally think that in the end the 2022 World Cup will not take place in Qatar,” Zwanziger told Germany’s Sport Bild.
“Medics say that they cannot accept responsibility with a World Cup taking place under these conditions,” the former German football (DFB) chief and FIFA member said.
Zwanziger also said that the World Cup experience is not just confined to the stadiums and if some international visitor got ill from the heat outside the venues there would be international outrage.
“That is not something that FIFA Exco members want to answer for,” he said.
But FIFA is warning that these comments are not official and that Zwanziger is only expressing his personal opinion.
The desert heat isn’t the only thing drawing criticism.
According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), migrants and foreign workers in Qatar continue to “experience serious rights violations, including forced labor and arbitrary restrictions on the right to leave Qatar, which exposed them to exploitation and abuse by employers.”
In 2012, Human Rights Watch criticized the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar. HRW said that Qatar and FIFA need to make “public commitments to uphold international labor standards” and improve civil rights for non-citizens before the games take place in the desert nation.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com