Sports

It looks like Qatar's 2022 World Cup will be a winter affair

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A dhow returns to the harbor in Doha, Qatar, at sunset, with the city's modern skyline in the background

The soccer World Cup is traditionally a summer event. But FIFA, the sport's international governing body, is rethinking that for the 2022 World Cup. 

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It's being hosted by the Arab state of Qatar, where the average high temperature in the summer is 107 degrees Fahrenheit.

"To be honest, I think it will be held between November 15 and January 15 at the latest," FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said in an interview with Radio France.

The event's scheduling has been debated ever since FIFA controversially awarded the tournament to Qatar in December of 2010. Many players and fans have voiced fears that the summer heat in Qatar would be dangerous. When Qatar bid for the World Cup, it said it could use solar energy to air condition the World Cup soccer facilities.

"Right now, they have the capacity to air condition one of the stadiums," said sports journalist David Roth. "And it works, it makes the conditions playable on the field. But it's not solar-powered, it's generator-powered, which is a huge energy suck. There's a reason why you don't run the air conditioning in a convertible with the top down."

Roth visited Qatar recently and wrote a five-part series about his time there. He wrote about the building boom in Doha ahead of the World Cup — and some of the problems the Gulf emirate will have to tackle.

"In Qatar, it's really difficult to get alcohol," Roth said. "Alcohol is a very important part of the experience of being at soccer games for a lot of people. They are going to have to find a work-around on that."

World Cup organizing committee officials in Qatar insist they are prepared for all eventualities concerning the 2022 tournament.

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