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Qatar set on hosting 2022 World Cup in summer

DOHA -- The debate may be raging over whether the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar should be switched to the winter, but one party content to stick with the original summer dates are the local organizers themselves.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has launched a consultation process over whether the football showpiece should be moved so as not to endanger players' and fans' health in the unbearable summer heat that can reach 50 degrees Celsius.

Organizers, though, are adamant they can come through with their plans to keep the stadia cool.

“We have always said that we can organize the World Cup in summer,” said Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary-general of the organizing committee, at the recent Doha Goals forum.

“But if the world of football or FIFA wants to hold it in winter, we will be delighted and ready to. But if they want it in summer, we are also ready.”

With work due to get underway on the first stadium Al Wakrah, 20 kilometers from Doha, in a few weeks, air conditioning will be one of the primary features of the building.

The organizers are aiming for temperatures of 25-26 degrees Celsius with the aid of the air conditioning.

“Air conditioning will be in both the stadia and on the training grounds,” a source close to the organizing committee told AFP.

“To make it air conditioned is not that difficult. The real challenge, is to consume the least amount of energy possible.

“We are reflecting on the questions over shade and sunlight, the time of the kick-offs, etc,” he added.

However, not all are convinced that top class athletes would suffer playing in such hot temperatures.

Sebastien Racinais, a French physiologist living in Qatar, told AFP that there are many examples of athletes defying high temperatures and even posting performances that are better than those under more clement conditions.

“There are many examples which show that it is possible to play sport in extreme weather conditions,” he said.

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