BERLIN (AP) — Former German football federation president Theo Zwanziger claimed on Wednesday that awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was a "blatant mistake" and that even moving it to avoid searing summer temperatures wouldn't be ideal.
Zwanziger told SportBild on Wednesday that a suggestion by FIFA President Sepp Blatter to play the tournament in winter would seriously affect the European leagues and threaten the "unity of German football."
He added that German fans would end up watching the World Cup at "public viewing events on ice-skates in minus temperatures." Blatter plans to ask FIFA's executive committee, of which Zwanziger is a member since June, 2011, to consider the switch - going back on his previous position of insisting on a summer tournament.
Qatar regularly has temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) during summer. "If this World Cup is to become a party for the people, you can't play football in the summer," Blatter said. "You can cool down the stadiums but you can't cool down the whole country."
Zwanziger said Blatter's U-turn showed that most of the executive committee had voted "against a fair awarding procedure" in giving the World Cup to Qatar in 2010. The 68-year-old former tax inspector said that rather than rescheduling the tournament, it should be awarded to another country.
"If the decision at the time was really wrong you have to cancel it and avoid burdens on those previously uninvolved," Zwanziger said.