This year’s FIFA World Cup will be held in the winter season for the first time ever.
Former Manchester United footballer and Sky Sports commentator Gary Neville believes the schedule shift in the Premier League season for the 2022 Qatar winter World Cup is fair.
Neville said on his podcast, “The World Cup should be hosted over each continent fairly over the course of 20 or 30 years… let’s get our head around it that this is something we’re going to have to get used to.”
Due to Qatar’s desert climate, the country encounters intense heat during the summer, with temperatures rising above 40°C. To protect fans and players of the FIFA World Cup, the tournament in Qatar was shifted to winter, when temperatures are at a more comfortable 15°C.
Football leagues, including the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, and the UEFA Champions, are kicking off early this year to accommodate the world’s first winter World Cup.
This summer, countries in the western world witnessed major heat waves and intense weather conditions which scientists believe is only the beginning of what lies ahead for the world’s climate.
Neville’s comments are aligned with the threatening future that will force sports institutions to reevaluate their calendar of events.
During the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, several events were rescheduled due to Japan’s hot and humid conditions. World Athletics President Sebastian Coe spoke on the effects of the weather on athletes.
“You don’t have to be a devotee of climate change or a denier to know the world is getting hotter… It probably will mean a global discussion around the calendar and how we stage events,” Coe said.
The opening match of the Qatar World Cup will be on November 21, with Qatar’s national team set to face Ecuador.