The issue of whether the World Cup in Qatar in 2022 should be moved to the winter time there or given to another country rages on.
In nine years’ time, with its focus on developing its junior football program, the Cayman Islands might have homegrown players in the World Cup finals in teams like England, Honduras and Jamaica.
FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb, a Caymanian businessman, said player welfare is his main priority at the Qatar World Cup.
Summers in Qatar can reach 50 degrees Celsius. It’s not just the players, coaches and officials who will suffer, fans and tourists will swelter under the desert-like conditions, too.
“Our biggest concern, of course, is going to be our players and our fans,” said Webb, who is also the CONCACAF president. “The real concern from my perspective will definitely be the conditions for the players.”
Owen Dinnall was the team manager for the Cayman Islands national Under-15 team during the recent CONCACAF tournament.
Now managing the U-17 team, Dinnall was raised playing in extreme heat.
“Playing football growing up, our matches were played in the 10 a.m. hot sun and as we grew in the youth leagues, we played at 3 p.m. in those days and the sun was extremely hot,” he said.
Nevertheless, Dinnall was surprised that Qatar got the vote. “I think handing it to Qatar was not a good choice, especially if research was done knowing that the tournament is held in the summer time and summer time in Qatar is severe.”
The speculation about holding it in the Qatar winter raises issues over logistics, as it would make it difficult to rearrange club fixtures around the world, especially in Europe where the majority of the best players earn their living.
Dinnall agrees that for safety reasons it would be better. “Summer is too hot and to have it changed to the winter would disrupt all the top leagues in the world,” he said. “The only logical thing would be to tender the bids again to have it somewhere else. FIFA would have to make a tough decision on this though.”
The Brazil World Cup finals are a year away. Dinnall hopes to be there. “I do plan to go to Brazil for the World Cup but only as a fan unless something changes between now and that time.”