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Fifa's medical chief raises concerns over Qatar heat

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KNOKKE (Belgium): Fifa's medical chief is against holding the 2022 World Cup in the summer heat of the desert nation Qatar.

Michel D'Hooghe added a strong voice on Friday to the debate about whether Qatar should stick to the traditional slot of June for a World Cup or shifted to a time of the year when the climate is more temperate.

Even though D'Hooghe said games and training would be held in climate conditioned temperatures of 21 degrees (70 F), the thousands of fans and other officials following the month-long tournament would have to deal much more with the scorching heat.

"Personally, I think it would be a good thing if we could play this World Cup in better temperatures than in full summer in Qatar," D'Hooghe said.

Fifa President Sepp Blatter said that for the time being "it is a problem without solution."

UEFA President Michel Platini has already said he would prefer the cooler winter months, but such a shift would be a major headache for clubs and leagues who are in the midst of their own seasons at that time.

CONCACAF, which governs the sport in North and Central America and the Caribbean, is still backing the summer World Cup, whatever the climatic challenges.

Fifa says the options could remain open until the 2019-22 international calendar is set. There is no precise deadline to approve it. AP


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