Physical performance and decision-making will be impaired in hot conditions… but we’ve also found that players’ bodies could adapt to the extreme conditions if the squad arrives in Qatar early enough.

Prof. John Brewer, a sports scientist at the UK’s University of Bedfordshire who has conducted research into the physical demands that would face football players in Qatar-like summer heat conditions.

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According to the results of simulations conducted in an environmental chamber, players would be able to adjust to the heat, but it would take at least four weeks to do so, he said.

Brewer added that this would require English football teams to modify their seasonal schedules – a controversial idea. The teams’ would also have to change their method of play, he told AFP:

“The high-tempo game we see in the Premier League on a regular basis may not be the type of football that can be sustained for 90 minutes or extra-time and penalties in a World Cup.

If you like to see a style of play that sees the ball being passed around at a lower tempo, then I think that’s what we’ll see in Qatar.”

The 2022 World Cup bid has been in the spotlight recently as European league officials debate the merits of a possible shift to the cooler winter months. For its part, Qatar has said it is ready to the hold the games in the summer, but could move it at the request of the international football community.

More clarity on the issue is expected in October, when FIFA’s executive committee discusses the matter.

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo by Mila Araujo

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