Cool Soccer Ahead

Keep an eye on the AIPS website (the URL is on our Links page) for interesting developments in international sport not always making our Canadian print and electronic media.The following is an excerpt from the Cool Soccer story which ran recently on the AIPS site  — an event which attracted over one hundred members of the international sports media to Doha.

DOHA, September 14, 2010 – Outside the humid evening temperature had not dipped very far below 40degC. Yet the players ran, chased, bustled and hustled through their Stars League clash as if immune to the dangers of dehydration.

That they could all do so owed everything to the technological breakthrough which, little but rich Qatar hopes, will persuade FIFA to award them host rights – against all the traditional odds – to the World Cup finals in 2022.

Unobtrusive, around the flanking pitch walls of the Al Sadd Stadium, ran a decorative ring of small black spheres. But these were not design features but key features of a system which cools the air temperature for players and fans.

40 deg outside, 19 inside

This may be the future of hot climate soccer and, as the busy players demonstrated to fans and officials – as well as to more than 100 members of the international media – it works.

This is believed to be the first stadium air conditioning system of its type in the world and was installed and started up just over a year ago at a cost of around $20m. Already researchers have developed refinements which will ensure that by 2022 the system can be carbon-zero.

For Qatar’s World Cup bid, this is progress with a double legacy benefit which should appeal to FIFA. Not only can they provide cool temperatures for players and fans at matches, at training and in the fan parks but it can be exported to countries – largely in the developing world – confronting similar challenges.

Cool, indeed.