Qatar pitches for World Cup

Desert state Qatar hopes to
convince Fifa officials to stage the World Cup in the Middle East for the first
time – with air-conditioned pitches.

The super rich nation has promised
to keep players cool in summer temperatures of up to 50C by blowing cool air
over them.

Qatar – one of the world’s
wealthiest countries – will show Fifa official’s plans for multi-billion pound
stadiums shaped as boats and sea shells.

Organisers of the bid for the 2022
tournament are proposing to ferry fans to some matches on boats and provide sea
views from seats at matches.

Strict alcohol laws will be relaxed
with dedicated fan zones where beer will be available, said Nasser Al Khater
from the organising committee.

A delegation of Fifa officials is
visiting the state to look at the facilities, including a five-a-side prototype
of one of the air-conditioned stadiums.

The solar-powered cooling system
keeps temperatures in the stadium and on the pitch at a constant temperature of
27C, compared to the summer average of 41C.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter gave
Qatar’s bid a boost when he said earlier this year that the Arab world deserves
to stage a World Cup.

Mr Blatter said Qatar’s successful
hosting of the 2006 Asian Games showed it was capable of organising big
international events.

Experts consider it the outsider
among bidders including the USA, Australia, South Korea and Japan.

Fifa will announce the hosts of
both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in December.

England is in the running for 2018,
but will go into the hat for 2022 if its bid for the earlier tournament fails.

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