The organizing committee issued a statement in response to reports Monday that only eight World Cup stadiums would be constructed, saying that it was customary for hosts to review bid plans before proposing “final host cities and stadia projects” for approval by FIFA, football’s world governing body.
“This is the same process that all FIFA World Cup host nations undergo. For Qatar, the process of selecting the final proposed lineup of host venues is ongoing,” the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press. “The requirement is a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 12″ stadiums.
Qatar defeated bids from the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia to host the World Cup, promising air-conditioned stadiums amid billions of dollars in infrastructure projects, although the decision has been marred by allegations that the voting process was flawed.
There have also been concerns over conditions for migrant construction workers, and the sweltering summer heat in the tiny Gulf nation that could lead to a change from the traditional June-July period for the tournament.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has already suggested moving the tournament to later in the year to avoid the searing desert heat.
Qatar hosted the Under-20 World Cup for FIFA in April 1995, and its 2022 organizing committee insists it can still fulfill a promise to host in midsummer in air-conditioned stadiums, training camps and public areas.
In recent months, Qatar has sought to allay widespread concerns about conditions for migrant workers on World Cup building projects by detailing how their rights must be protected by contractors.
Rights group Amnesty International called the charter a “positive, if partial” step. But the International Trade Union Confederation complained that 2022 World Cup leaders have not demanded changes in Qatar’s labor laws despite mounting criticism from rights groups. – UNB