FIFA executive committee member Theo Zwanziger said he thinks the 2022 World Cup will not be held in Qatar because of the extreme heat in the region.
Qatar was awarded the tournament in 2010 and has since faced scrutiny over corruption and bribery allegations. The World Cup is scheduled to start in June, when temperatures typically soar well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
"I personally think that in the end the 2022 World Cup will not take place in Qatar," Zwanziger told Sport Bild. "Medics say that they cannot accept responsibility with a World Cup taking place under these conditions.”
Zwanzinger said that Qatar's plan to build air-conditioned stadiums will not help fans deal with the heat outside of matches, where traveling fans will be in danger.
"They may be able to cool the stadiums but a World Cup does not take place only there," Zwanziger said. "Fans from around the world will be coming and travelling in this heat and the first life-threatening case will trigger an investigation by a state prosecutor.
"That is not something that FIFA Exco members want to answer for."
"He is expressing a personal opinion and he explicitly says so," FIFA spokewoman Delia Fischer said. "We will not comment on a personal opinion."
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has suggested that the tournament should be moved to the winter, though domestic leagues around the world have protested this idea because it would disrupt their standard schedule. Blatter has defended Qatar amid criticism of its human rights record and allegations of corruption.
Later Monday, Nasser Al Khater, Qatar's executive director of communications, said there's "no prospect" of the country losing the World Cup.
"The only question now is WHEN, not IF," Al Khater said in a statement. "Summer or winter, we will be ready."
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