FIFA executive committee member Theo Zwanziger has slammed the awarding of the 2020 World Cup to Qatar, calling it a “blatent mistake” and said staging the tournament in winter would create a further headache.
Earlier this month FIFA president Sepp Blatter said he would push for the 2022 World Cup to be played in the winter due to concerns about the Qatari summer heat.
The head of the world football governing body said he would speak to FIFA members in October about changing the timing of the event.
However Zwanziger, formerly head of the German football federation (DfB) told Sportbild magazine, that is “it was a blatent mistake”, referring to the decision taken by world soccer’s governing body in December 2010.
A country like Qatar is not suited to have tens of thousands of beer-drinking fans ascend on it “Changing the World Cup to the winter is going deep into the structures of European national federations and also amateur football in Germany,” Zwanziger.
“A change in playing schedules does not only affect the Bundesliga but continues affecting lower divisions due to the link with promotion and relegation. The game pyramid is in danger and so is the unity of German football.”
Moving the World Cup to January or February would also have an impact on attendances and television viewing figures for other sporting events like the Australian Open tennis tournament, skiing and the Winter Olympics.
Temperatures in Qatar in June and July regularly hit 40C (104f) or higher with 45C (113f) recorded last month.