FIFA Is A Mess: How A Winter World Cup Is Actually Becoming A Thing
Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is dealing with, by far, the most controversial World Cup to date.
The global organizing entity behind the World Cup is at the center of more media criticism for its decision to grant Qatar, the tiny, oil-rich Gulf State, the official offering to host the international sporting event.
FIFA awarded Qatar, over the United States, the rights to host back in 2010, and since the decision, a series of diverse headlines have outshined the hosting choice.
While the World Cup is internationally known to be a summer event, it is the most widely watched sporting event in the world, garnering more viewers than the Olympic games, which take place every four years.
Its viewers and fans rally around their national teams from June to July in a series of matches held in the host nation's venues.
Among all the negative press about the Qatar world cup, which include exposing human rights violations, bribery allegations and costs, there remains the one underlining concern that continues to center the controversy: weather.
With its geographic location in the hot and humid Middle East, temperatures in the Qatari capital city of Doha reach up to 40.5 degrees Celsius — or 105 degrees Fahrenheit — in the summer months.
With this caliber of intense heat in a sporting atmosphere, it was deemed far too hot and dangerous for athletes to compete.
The Qatari bid committee had an ideal solution in 2010: build air-conditioned cooling stadiums, which would significantly lower the temperatures.
That idea has since been abandoned, and the global sporting world remains concerned for what will happen in 2022.
A special task force for the issue recommended the 2022 World Cup in Qatar be played in the more temperature-friendly months of November and December — a major shift for the historically summertime tournament.
According to officials, this is currently the best option worth exploring to protect players from performing in scorching summer month temperatures, which are deemed unsafe.
This suggestion has sent shockwaves through the sporting community, as it is widely assumed that a departure from a traditionally summer event would cause Europe’s largest and most lucrative football leagues nothing but headaches and disapproval.
December is traditionally a busy period for the English Premier League’s match roster, as well as Germany’s Bundesliga, Spain's La Liga, France's Ligue 1 and Italy's Serie A.
The European clubs provide a large proportion of the players in each World Cup, and the decision would for several high-hitting clubs and players to reschedule and compromise. Not to mention, winter months are filled with holidays and celebrations around the world.
Speculation has it that if this proposal goes through, the worldwide viewers could see an 2022 World Cup Final played the evening before Christmas Eve.
American media outlets will also find this newly devised change difficult, as Fox has current rights to air the coverage of the tournament.
November and December stand in line with latter parts of college and professional football seasons, as well as the National Basketball Association starting off in November.
So for now, organizers, media outlets and concerned fans await final decisions on where and when the World Cup will take place.
The final decision on the tournament dates is set to transpire in a meeting between top members of the FIFA committee between March 18 and 19.
Chances are, fans around the world will be rooting for their national teams in a much different time of year than they're used to doing. This will mean they'll replace their pints of beer with mulled wine, and soccer jerseys for holiday sweaters.