The 2022 soccer World Cup in Qatar could take place in January or February to avoid the scorching temperatures of the summer months in the desert state, FIFA Executive Committee member Franz Beckenbauer said on Saturday.
Beckenbauer, who won the 1974 World Cup as West Germany captain and also coached his nation to the 1990 title, said hosting the tournament during the winter would be an alternative.
The World Cups are traditionally held during the northern hemisphere’s summer months after the end of the domestic league competitions.
Qatar, which beat bid rivals Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States, said it would deploy climate-control technology to keep the temperature on the pitch to 27 degrees Celsius while outside it was a scorching 50 degrees.
“One should think about a different solution,” Beckenbauer told the Bild newspaper, where he also works as a columnist.
“In January or February you have a comfortable 25 degrees there. Plans for the biggest leagues would have to change for 2022 but that would not be a major undertaking.”
“It would be an alternative to using climate control at great expense for stadiums and fanzones,” added Beckenbauer, who is stepping down from FIFA’s powerful executive committee in March.
Qatar, which has never qualified for the World Cup finals, was picked by world soccer’s governing body FIFA on Thursday to stage the 2022 tournament, a first both for the Middle East and for an Arab country.
It will also be the smallest nation ever to host the World Cup.
FIFA awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia on the same day and Beckenbauer had long opposed the double vote by FIFA, which has been severely criticised for it.
“It was a mistake to do both 2018 and 2022 on the same day but now it has happened. I would be happy to leave the 2022 decision to the next generation,” Beckenbauer said.