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New study says 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be too hot to even sit and watch

Foreign construction workers leave a construction site in Doha, Qatar, last November. (EPA)
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While questions linger about the allegedly shady activity that led FIFA to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, the Middle Eastern country has been dogged with criticism about its suitability for the tournament. Corruption, human rights violations, the heat-stroke inducing weather… Indeed, criticism has been hot and heavy, and now it’s about get a whole lot more balmy.

The hot Qatari summer, where temperatures can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit  has already been criticized for how it might affect the players, but now a new study published in this month’s International Journal of Biometeorology purports that heat will affect spectators negatively, too.

Based on thermal indices such as the Physiological Equivalent Temperature (PET), which takes into account various environmental data (humidity, wind, etc.) to measure if an 85-degree day might feel more like 95-degree one, for example, the study concludes:

[The World Cup] may be not appropriate for visitors, if it is placed during months with extreme conditions. For Doha, [Qatar], this is the period from May to September, when conditions during a large majority of hours of the day cause strong heat stress for the visitors.

The study, conducted by Dr. Andreas Matzarakis and researcher Dominik Frohlich of the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg in Germany, concludes with a recommendation to reschedule the World Cup from July to sometime between November and February “when thermally comfortable conditions are much more frequent.”

The study backs up what many have already demanded — that the 2022 World Cup either be moved to winter or to another, more comfortably temperate location altogether.

In August of last year, FIFA president Sepp Blatter told the Associated Press that he “would be very surprised, more than surprised” if the World Cup would not be rescheduled for the winter in Qatar. Shortly after, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke seemed to announce the World Cup would move. He told Radio France, “To be honest, I think it will be held between November 15 and January 15 at the latest.” But almost immediately after Valcke talked about moving the tournament, FIFA’s Vice President Jim Boyce rolled back on the association’s stance. He told the Telegraph.

“I was totally surprised this morning when I heard what Jerome has said. As I understand it all the stakeholders will have discussions and report back to the executive committee of FIFA and no final decision will be made on when the 2022 World Cup would be played until December 2014 or March 2015. As far as I am concerned that remains the situation and there has been nothing said to me to make that any different.”

To this day, no decision has been made.

(H/t: Real Clear Science)