x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Qatari organisers have no plans to move World Cup 2022 from a summer schedule

But officials say they will 'not stand in the way' of Fifa and the international community if they insist the tournament has to be moved to the winter.

DOHA // Qatar's World Cup chiefs have reaffirmed their plans to stage the 2022 showpiece in the summer despite widespread concerns that fans and spectators will suffer in the hot and humid temperatures.

Speaking at a conference in Doha on Tuesday, Hassan Al Thawadi, a World Cup organising committee official, said Qatar would only consider a switch from summertime if "the entire football community" contested current plans.

"If the entire football community, and not just Fifa, requests it then we would not stand in their way," Al Thawadi said. "But for the moment there have been no such discussions" with world football's ruling body Fifa, he added.

Since Qatar successfully bid to host the event concerns have been raised that the heat and humidity of the Gulf State during the summer could cause havoc for players and fans.

Organisers have pledged to look at ways of keeping temperatures under control, including installing industrial-sized air conditioning systems in all host stadiums.

That idea, however, was met with scepticism in September by Michel Platini, the Uefa president, who repeated demands that the event be switched to the winter.

"If you are going to go to Qatar in June-July, there's a good chance it'll be 55°C," Platini said at a Uefa executive committee meeting in Cyprus.

"It's great that the grounds will be air conditioned but I think that this sporting occasion is the most important in the world.

"The best period is to play in the winter and in November-December 2022, because in January 2022 there will be the Winter Olympics."

Architects working on several stadium projects in Qatar have also poured doubt on the use of air conditioning, suggesting instead that a ventilation system and making sure all seating is kept in the shade would work better.

Al Thawadi, however, said that research into the use of air conditioning in stadiums would continue "because it was one of the promises made to the world" during their bid campaign.

"All the commitments we made to Fifa during our bid campaign, including the use of air conditioning in stadiums, remain in place," he said. "We have no plans to drop the air conditioning project."