Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ukraine heat a portent of 2022 World Cup

While England and France slugged out a draw in Donetsk, much the same occurred two days prior some distance from the Ukraine. The likes of James Milner appeared totally spent with temperatures reaching 33o celsius in oppressive conditions.

On Saturday, the Australian Socceroos played Oman in their first 2014 World Cup Qualifier. The match was played in Oman, a hope, skip and Ashley Young dive away from Qatar – the site for the 2022 World Cup. With a 5pm kickoff, temperatures reached a rash-inducing 41o celsius. The argument that "it's a dry heat" is quite nonsensical: when the Weather Channel says it feels like it's 46° outside, it doesn't matter whether the humidity scale is at 6% or 60.

In the first eleven days of June, Muscat recorded eight days where the mercury raised above 37o; the lowest maximum temperature was 35o. The average June temperature in Muscat is 39o. Even more amusingly, 75% of June days are officially categorised as “hot”; the rest (24.6%) are officially classified as “sweltering”.

In news likely to cause players from cooler climes to melt like so many Wicked Witches of the West – I'm looking at you, Scotland – the maximum temperature in Donetsk today did not reach the minimum temperature in Muscat.

It's summer in the Northern Hemisphere. It's hot. Players expect to play in uncomfortable conditions and expect a quick turnaround time between games. However, hosting a major tournament in heat such as this is patently ridiculous, as is moving the tournament to winter to accommodate its fabulously wealthy hosts.

Never mind tough laws, designated drinking zones and the occupational health and safety of players, but fan health simply must have been more of a consideration before FIFA awarded Qatar the Cup.

If you can't take the heat, keep the World Cup out of the Gulf States.

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