Will Qatar’s Extreme Heat Force World Cup Matches To Be Played In Thirds?
When FIFA awarded Qatar the 2022 World Cup, the immediate and widespread reaction was to cry corruption and deride the selection of the tiny (smaller than every U.S. state except Delaware and Rhode Island) Middle Eastern nation.
It wasn't tough to see why: in addition to the nation's oil-fueled wealth (which most figured looked awfully attractive to FIFA), the nation is simply too small to have the tournament-hosting resources of, say, the United States - who placed a bid on hosting the same tournament. That righteous anger over suspected payoffs and nationalistic pride combined for an ideal rage recipe, which didn't even take into account that Qatar's climate also poses a potential issue: potentially unplayable conditions.
Qatar, you see, gets so hot in the summer that a regulation soccer game simply might prove too dangerous to players' health. Some intriguingly innovative - if not exactly practical - solutions to this problem have been posed, but via the Daily Telegraph, here's the most radical yet:
[O]ne proposal being considered by Fifa is to play the 90 minute games over three 30-minute periods if the temperature inside the stadiums exceeds 30c because of the potential health risks involved.
Considering that, as the story says, summer temperatures in Qatar are often above 40c (which would translate to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit), the "over 30c" scenario seems a good bet to happen. And if playing a soccer game in thirds rather than halves seems like such a fundamental shift for the game that such a change would require wading through many layers of red tape - well, you're right, and that's why one FIFA representative downplayed the possibility:
"This possibility has not been discussed. In any case, this would require a change in the Laws of the Game, and therefore would have to be analysed and approved by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in the first place."
It is pretty hard to imagine such a seismic shift to the game actually taking place - though it would certainly be preferable to players getting injured (or worse) all over the place due to excessive heat. We're still hoping that remote-controlled cloud idea comes to pass, but if that's not sufficient, the "play the game in thirds" idea seems as good a solution as any...you know, besides not awarding a soccer tournament to a nation whose own weather patterns discourage the playing of soccer.
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