* FIFA Executive Committee says tournament will move
* Plans under way to shift World Cup to European winter (Adds Qatar reaction)
Qatar remained adamant it would host the 2022 soccer World Cup despite a FIFA Executive Committee member suggesting on Monday that the tournament would have to move because of scorching temperatures.
“The only question now is when, not if,” Qatar 2022 communications director Nasser Al Khater said in a statement. “Summer or winter, we will be ready.”
Theo Zwanziger, the former German football association (DFB) chief who now sits on the executive committee of world soccer’s governing body, had said earlier that he felt the tournament would have to be held elsewhere.
“I personally think that in the end the 2022 World Cup will not take place in Qatar,” he told Sport Bild. “Medics say that they cannot accept responsibility with a World Cup taking place under these conditions.”
FIFA awarded the tournament to the tiny Middle Eastern country in a controversial decision in 2010, with the understanding that it would be held in the summer despite the searing heat.
Although oil and gas-rich Qatar has insisted that timetable is viable thanks to cooling technologies being developed for stadiums, training areas and fan zones, there is still widespread concern over the health of players and visiting fans.
“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.