Ex-FIFA official: 2022 World Cup matches could start at night
Former Chilean football chief and potential FIFA presidential candidate Harold Mayne-Nicholls has proposed playing matches at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar at night to mitigate the region’s extreme heat.
Temperatures in Qatar could reach 120 degrees in June, the tournament's scheduled start.
Mayne-Nicholls said some matches could begin as late as 1 a.m. to avoid the heat.
"You'd change everything. It would be a couple of hours behind in Europe, and that would help TV," Mayne-Nicholls said to the BBC. “You could play the first games at 7pm, the second games at 10pm and the third matches at 1am."
Mayne-Nicholls also brought up the possibility of moving up the tournament's start to May to address heat issues.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has proposed moving the tournament to November/December, saying “You can cool down the stadiums, but you can't cool down the whole country and you can't simply cool down the ambience of a World Cup.”
“The weather would still be very warm at night, but the sun is not there and that could help,” Mayne-Nicholls said. “I know it's not easy. We'd sleep during the day and work during the night. It's only an idea. You'd have to investigate a little bit more.”
Mayne-Nicholls suggested holding a youth tournament in Qatar ahead of the World Cup to help determine what course of action should be taken.
FIFA is expected to release the initial report of the findings of its investigation into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process by mid-November. It was alleged that corruption and bribery were involved in securing Russia's and Qatar's bids to host the tournament.
- Scooby Axson