Prince calls for winter Cup in Qatar

2010-12-13 10:43

Sydney – Prince Ali of Jordan has called on Fifa to switch the 2022 football World Cup in Qatar from summer to winter and to allow neighbouring Arab nations to host games.

Ali told the Australian Associated Press he understood concerns expressed by England and other nations at Fifa’s decision to award the world tournament to the Middle East for the first time.

Concerns have been expressed around the ability of tiny Qatar to host such a mammoth sporting event, particularly during its summer when temperatures can reach 50 degrees Celsius.

Ali, on a tour of Asia and Oceania, said he understood Australians were upset at having lost the chance to host the 2022 World Cup but was not surprised Fifa awarded the tournament to a nation of 1.7 million people.

The 2018 tournament went to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar. Both were seen as surprise choices but Ali said he was not surprised to see Qatar chosen over the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia, which had been seen as “safer” choices.

“I am sure there are concerns, but what has been done has been done and now what we have to do is make sure it (the World Cup) is a success,” Prince Ali said.

Ali said he supported calls to move the 2022 tournament in Qatar to the cooler month of January to allow matches to be played in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and possibly Saudi Arabia.

“I think they have to incorporate the people of the region,” he said.

“Also, in terms of capacity they will have to reach out to some of the neighbouring countries to help with people coming from outside who want to experience this event.”

The 34-year-old prince is attempting to become the youngest member of the Fifa executive committee, succeeding South Korea’s Dr Chung Mong-joon.

Ali said he was committed to restoring Fifa’s image, which had been tarnished by perceptions of corruption.

“At the moment I am looking from the outside, as is everyone else,” he said.

“But I do believe people like myself need to get into this organization because we have reputations and backgrounds that hopefully will help ensure that if are these issues there will be less and less of it.

“We have to bring back the reputation of this organisation to where it should be. That’s why i want to get in there. We want people who you know for sure will not be part of issues like that.”

Ali said he did not want Fifa decisions to be made behind closed doors.

“The next four years are crucial for Fifa in light of everything that has gone on,” he said.

Ali said he empathised with Australians whose bid to host the 2022 World Cup received only one vote among 22 executive committee member when venues for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments were decided in Zurich two weeks ago.

“I think (Qatar) invested a lot in this and it looked like they had a good chance,” he said. “I do believe every single Fifa national association should have the right to host the World Cup, regardless of size, if they have the means and capabilities to do so.”

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