Fifa president says Middle East ‘deserves’ World Cup in boost to Qatar 2022 bid.
|The bid team relaeased images of their stadium plans at a convention in neighbouring Dubai|
Qatar will build 12 air-conditioned outdoor stadiums if it wins the right to host the 2022 World Cup.
The new venues – three of them revamped existing grounds – would use solar power to provide what officials say will be optimum pitch-side conditions despite the scorching Arabian sun.
The $4 billion Qatar World Cup bid has been dismissed by many as a publicity stunt because of ferocious summer temperatures that can top 50C but organisers say they can harness this power to create carbon-neutral arenas.
“The peak performance for a player is reached between 24 and 29 degrees Celsius and we can guarantee 27 degrees on the pitch,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, son of the Emir of Qatar.
“It’s time for the World Cup to come to the Middle East. A global sporting event of this calibre, if it comes here, will bring a whole burst of life to the region.”
Solar thermal collectors on the stadium roof will transfer and store energy which on match days will chill water, creating cold air that will be delivered into the stadium and on to the pitch through slots in the seats.
The system will continuously export energy to the Qatar electric grid, enabling the stadiums to be carbon neutral, officials said at the SportAccord convention in Dubai on Wednesday.
World football’s ruling body Fifa will decide the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in December.
Australia, England, Japan, Netherlands/Belgium, Russia, Spain/Portugal and United States are bidding for the 2018 or 2022 finals.
Qatar and South Korea are bidding for the finals in 2022 only.
The Gulf state’s bid got a boost on Saturday when Fifa president Sepp Blatter said the Arab world deserved to stage a World Cup.
Blatter, in Doha to meet with Qatar’s football officials, praised the bid’s infrastructure and said the government’s successful hosting of the 2006 Asian Games showed it was capable of organising big international events.
The small but wealthy nation of 1.6 million people has used sport to try to boost its international profile, staging the Asian Games and becoming a stop for several major tennis tournaments and athletics’ World Indoor Championships.
Qatar will host the 2011 Asian Cup football tournament, but saw its 2016 Olympic bid fall flat.