x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Climate kills off dream

A stark conclusion on arriving at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Friday night was that the United Arab Emirates cannot seriously be considered as hosts for the World Cup finals in 2022 or beyond.

ABU DHABI // A stark conclusion on arriving at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Friday night was that the United Arab Emirates cannot seriously be considered as hosts for the World Cup finals in 2022 or beyond. The Bahrain friendly was staged nearly a month after the peak of the summer temperatures here. Yet it was still too hot. Much too hot. With added effect of the floodlights beating down on the impressive venue but it was an effort just watching from the sidelines, let alone playing. Imagining Olympic athletes competing here in the month of August is also a perishing thought.

Sporting administrators in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are rightly proud of the events that they have brought to the nation in recent years. The catalogue of international sport available on our doorsteps gets thicker every year as the acquisition of the Club World Cup for 2009 and 2010 demonstrated. That gathering of the best club teams on the planet takes place annually in December, not June, a fundamental point made by the Fifa president Sepp Blatter when making the announcement in favour of the UAE ahead of Australia and Japan in Sydney three months ago.

Like those international power brokers who have agreed to let Formula One and a host of other exciting events come to the region, Blatter knows when the time is right to put on a world class show here. The time, in my opinion, will never be right for the World Cup or the Olympics. wjohnson@thenational.ae