DOHA, Qatar (AP) – Qatari organizers of the 2022 World Cup have dismissed claims by one of its stadium engineers that FIFA could change the historic timing of matches to help players cope with intense heat.
In a curt statement on Thursday, Qatar officials insisted the idea of dividing matches into three 30-minute periods was never an option.
''Splitting the games held during the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar has not been discussed at any time,'' the Qatar team said.
''All 64 games in 2022 will be played in carbon neutral, cooled stadiums in two halves of forty-five minutes as per regulations.''
atar and FIFA have been sensitive to criticism of 2022 World Cup plans since the tiny gas-rich emirate was awarded hosting rights last December.
With 32 teams expected to play and train for up to six June and July weeks when average daytime temperatures hit 42 degrees Celsius (108 F), an imaginative solution is required to organize the tournament safely.
atar has promised to equip 12 state-of-the-art venues with air conditioning units to blow cooled air over players and spectators. Plans to air condition team training camps and public viewing areas for tens of thousands of visiting fans have not yet been outlined in detail.
However, engineer Michael Beavon said at a conference in London on Wednesday that FIFA had a ''forward-thinking'' backup plan to divide matches into thirds, giving players more time to rehydrate if stadium temperatures rose above 29 C (84 F).
atari officials responded that the claims by Beavon, a director of Arup Associates, were ''without any foundation.''
''Representatives from Arup are not spokespeople for Qatar 2022,'' the statement said.
FIFA also denied it had contingency plans, insisting ''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 analyzed and approved by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in the first place,'' the governing body said.