Everton's Martinez backs winter World Cup in Qatar
SINGAPORE: Everton manager Roberto Martinez has thrown his backing behind a winter World Cup in Qatar, believing the 2022 tournament should be embraced as a chance for the global game to bridge new boundaries.
Earlier this year, soccer's world governing body FIFA relented on previous demands that the tournament would be held in summer, opting instead for a November-December event to avoid matches kicking off in temperatures higher than 50 degrees Celsius
"A World Cup in Qatar is an incredible experience for everyone concerned and I think we should embrace it," the Spaniard told reporters in Singapore on Friday, a day ahead of Everton's Premier League Asia Trophy final against Arsenal.
"Once that decision is made, it's not good for us in football to keep going on about the negative aspect of playing it in winter. From my point of view, we need to enjoy it and adapt to whatever changes will come our way because of it."
Martinez is an advocate of taking the game to new countries and the first-hand experience of Everton's positive reception in Singapore has given him a firm belief that Qatar would be equally as accommodating given the right conditions.
"My thoughts on the World Cup are that you play it everywhere in the world, if the decision is to be given to Qatar then it is clear that the tournament must be played in winter.
"There's no way you can play it in the summer. We were in Qatar not that long ago and they have all the facilities, so I don't think it will be a problem to play the World Cup there.
"You could play the games in the summer because of the air conditioning in the stadiums but it would be very tough for the fans to enjoy a World Cup in the summer heat."
Martinez also believes there is plenty of time for European clubs opposed to moving the tournament from its traditional summer timing to prepare the leagues and players for a winter tournament.
"I don't think it's even up for debate, it has to be a winter World Cup and as a football manager and a football person you have to adapt towards it and we will do that," he added.
"We will start making plans for it and get the players prepared to make sure they are ready for what is ahead of them."