Replies to Media ● Nov 15, 2022

FAS response to media query on fitness and the winter World Cup


Would some clubs have carried out pre-season differently, to manage the split season arrangement? (club football from Aug-Nov, World Cup, then club football again till May)

To ensure players are fresh for club football and the World Cup 2022, clubs will usually regulate their players’ load by constantly monitoring their physical, medical and technical data throughout the preparation period. The various National Teams will also work closely with the clubs to ensure that the national team players are fresh going into the World Cup with ample opportunities with club football as well.


However, there may be some clubs who opt to hold onto their players until the latest possible departure date for Qatar, as they want to potentially use them for league fixtures just a week before the World Cup begins. Similarly, players could find themselves back in club action just days after the World Cup ends, which could be challenging for players who reach the semi-finals and final.

“Will the timing of the World Cup mean players are at their peak? Or could the players be more injury-prone or tired during the Christmas period?

Players have different demands in different leagues, but the top stars can expect to play between 55-60 games a season if their club is successful. In most European leagues, Christmas period can be the most hectic and definitely the risk of injury and tiredness would be a particularly major concern for the clubs especially after this year’s World Cup. Clubs usually will plan their team rotations and induvial periodisation accordingly for the full year to manage the players’ load.

“Is there a specific way teams from Europe or other parts of the world can acclimatise to the dry weather in Qatar? Or would they not have to do much adjusting?

Although the tournament has been moved to November/December this year, temperatures will still average in the high 20s Celsius, and conditions will still be severely testing for many players, particularly those coming straight from cooler regions and with only a one-week acclimatization window. Ideally it is recommended for the team to have two weeks to acclimatise to the weather of the competition venue before the start of the World Cup, if they are not from the surrounding region (Middle East). It is not just the weather but the daily routine (sleep-eat-train cycle), as well as the living conditions that players need to adapt to as well.


Having said that, one of the major developments on show in Qatar will be the stadium cooling technology – which basically blows cold air across the pitch – via different systems in different stadiums. Irrespective of the temperature and wind outside, even if there’s a dust storm, the inside of the stadium will be maintained at 22-23 degrees Celsius and with the best air quality for the players on the field.”


– Haiyum Jaafar, Sports Scientist, FAS