The International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPro) concluded its General Assambley in Tokyo Wednesday, with the players saying holding the 2022 World Cup in the Qatari summer represents a huge health risk for players.
The union also criticized those that are concerned about the economic consequences of changing the season.
Temperatures in Qatar can reach 40C between the months of May and September - when the World Cup has traditionally been held. A date for the 2022 World Cup has not yet been set by tournament organizers, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA).
FIFPro Secretary-general Theo van Seggelen said that players' health is not negotiable, adding that he will not support a World Cup that puts in players lives in danger. “Their safety is our priority,” said the union leader, added that FIFPro would challenge the decision in court and “advise the players not to go.”
However, Van Seggelen also said he is confident that FIFA will not ignore its own medical advice by staging the tournament in the summer.
The meeting, which was attended by representatives of clubs, leagues as well as players, urged the consideration of three alternative dates to the summer and referred to a report that recommends playing in January-February and holding all games after 5 pm.
In 2010, Qatar won the right to stage the 2022 World Cup, but an inquiry into the time when games will be held has been under way for over a year. The wealthy Arab nation says it has developed artificial clouds to provide shade for stadiums and training grounds.
The prospective hosts have also been criticized for the number of migrants workers that have died during building of the stadiums, reported to be well over 1000.