Football: 2022 Qatar World Cup will be game changer, says organising committee chief Al Thawadi

(REUTERS) - Qatar will be ready to deliver a World Cup no matter when it is played, the Gulf state's 2022 organising committee chief Hassan Al Thawadi said on Thursday.

With Fifa set to vote March 19 on a recommendation for a World Cup staged over the cooler months of November and December to avoid the searing June-July heat, Al Thawadi removed the Gulf state from the debate.

"We have always said right from the very beginning that we are ready for whatever the football community decides," Al Thawadi said at the Leaders Sport Business Summit in mid-town Manhattan. "When the decision is made we will comply with it."

With snow blanketing the Big Apple, the thought of a winter World Cup seemed an outrageous idea. World Cups have always been staged over May, June and July since the first in Uruguay in 1930.

The latest a final has been contested was July 30 - in Uruguay in 1930 and England in 1966. The earliest final was played out on June 10 in 1934.

June and July are not viable for Qatar, where temperatures routinely exceed 40 deg C, and the working group's proposals would see the 2022 World Cup final contested a couple of days before Christmas.

However, Al Thawadi commented that up until last week's recommendation by a Fifa technical task force to move to a winter event, his team had been working towards a summer tournament.

"For the last five years we've been planning for a summer World Cup. So, in terms of the change for us, it's actually changing our plans as well," he said.

The November-December option targets the coolest months, and avoids a clash with Ramadan and with the Winter Olympics which are slated for January to February 2022.

"While I understand the concerns and issues people may have in the end it is a decision the football community has to make," said Al Thawadi when probed about the the complaints of many European clubs and leagues whose season would be interrupted by a winter World Cup.

"The decision was made, or the recommendation came from, six Fifa confederations. There have been pillars of the football community as well that have supported that decision including, you know, members, people such as Gary Neville, (Andrea) Pirlo, Arsene Wenger. So, there's a lot of other members of the football community as well - European members of the football community - that have supported that decision as well," he said.

A passionate Al Thawadi underlined that there is still much work to be done over the next seven years with the construction of 70 hotels and other infrastructure projects while five stadiums are in different stages of construction.

There is also much work to be done polishing Qatar's image which has been tainted by allegations of corruption in the bidding process and human rights abuses of foreign workers brought to build venues.

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