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FIFA Holds Press Conference On Qatar 2022; 111 Die As Boat Capsizes Off Italian Coast; Compromise Over U.S. Debt Ceiling Possible?
Aired October 4, 2013 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.
Now world football's governing body is expected to speak this hour addressing the controversy over the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The pope calls it a day of tears as Italy mourns those lost after a boat sinks off the island of Lampedusa.
And Obama's schedule is another casualty of the government shutdown as the U.S. president cancels his trip to Asia.
Now this hour, we'll be hearing from top international football officials. Now FIFA's executive committee is wrapping up two days of talks in Zurich, Switzerland. And on the agenda is the controversial 2022 World Cup. Now we expect that they will address the fiery debate that has overshadowed the decision to make Qatar the host of one of the world's biggest sporting events.
Now there are three key issues that are plaguing the 2022 World Cup. Now first, Qatar's oppressive summer heat has FIFA considering moving the tournament to winter. Also, there are claims that migrant workers hired for World Cup construction projects are being exploited.
And finally, the decision to award Qatar hosting rights has been marred by allegations of corruption.
Now as we said earlier, FIFA officials are scheduled to hold a news conference in Zurich later this hour. We'll bring that to you live when it happens.
But first, CNN's Amanda Davies joins me live from London. And Amanda, what will FIFA announce later today?
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Krisite, this has been built for a few weeks now as D-day for the Qatar '22 World Cup. But I think in actual fact, what we've got is a no decision day. The FIFA executive committee, the 25-person committee have been meeting in Zurich over the last two days, as you said. And it was item 25.2 on their agenda, which was titled the position of the Qatar '22 -- 2022 World Cup on the calendar.
We all thought that that was going to be discussing on making a decision as to whether or not the World Cup would be moved from that incredibly hot summer to the winter in terms of the calendar. In recent days, because of reports that have been coming out of Qatar about the treatments of migrant workers, that item on the agenda did expand somewhat. And what we understand is in the news conference that is due in about half an hour's time from now. There will be an announcement that there has been no decision taken about the positioning of the World Cup that, yes, a task force is going to be set up to basically have a look at all the options that are on the table.
In terms of the timeframe for that taskforce, it's a very interesting one. We know that Michael Garcia and the ethics committee are looking into the process in the awarding of the World Cup. He has said he's going to report back to FIFA in February/March next year.
And then of course there's the Brazil World Cup in June. And they really don't ant their event overshadowed. So the likelihood is that there will be no public decision on the timing of the Qatar 2022 World Cup until at least July next year. And there are so many parties that have things at stake here. There's FIFA themselves. There's the other bidding nations that lost out at that vote in 2010. The likes of Australian have already said that they would be seeking some legal compensation because afterall they were told that they had to bid for a summer games, not a winter games as Television broadcasters FOX in the United States have said that their schedules are very much pinned around the World Cup being held in June and July.
And then of course there's the International Olympic Committee, because the winter Olympics is also due to be held in 2022 and that is scheduled for January, February, March that year and they certainly don't want their events overshadowed either.
LU STOUT: Yeah. So many moving parts and considerations in any decision to be made here. Amanda Davies there, thank you.
Why is it so hard to move the dates of the World Cup? Well, let's take a look at this season's schedules for some of Europe's top leagues. Now the Germany league has a month long winter break, but the World Cup needs more time than that. When you factor in rest both before and after the tournament, we estimate that it would take at least eight weeks to host a World Cup. And that break, as you can see, I mean, it just isn't long enough.
Now if our estimate is current, it would mean that the season would have to start earlier and then end later, which in turn would have a knock- on effect on the seasons around it. But bear in mind that Germany's winter break is unusually long.
Now this year, Spain's winter break is about two weeks.
And in England, they don't even have a winter break. In fact, the Premier League schedules more matches during the holiday period, more matches that will need to be rescheduled if the dates change for the 2022 World Cup.
Now there were huge celebrations in the desert nation when it won the 2022 bid three years ago. So how are people in Qatar reacting today to the latest concerns? Well, Becky Anderson is in Qatar's capital Doha. She joins us live. And Becky, what's the reaction there?
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the talk here is really about the fact that they don't mind when they host this World Cup, they just want to host it.
Now, look, we're almost a decade away from the first ball being kicked. It's three years ago that Qatar was awarded the bid to host this World Cup in 2022. And yet now mired in controversy for the three main points that you -- the three main points that you eluded to: when it's going to be, is it summer or winter? Is it too hot in the summer? The whole bidding process and the alleged corruption. And then this point, and this is really what is overshadowing everything at the moment, the issue of workers' rights, migrant workers' rights.
The UEFA president who is the sort of second biggest man in football, Michel Platini, going into this meeting in Zurich this week said that he expected FIFA to defer the decision on when this World Cup would be held, because he said in the life of these allegations about workers' rights here and what some NGOs have called a slave society, he said it would be impossible at this stage to make a decision about when the tournament was held.
Listen, let me explain a little bit about workers' rights and the issue of exploitation here, or the allegations of exploitation, 90 percent of Qatar's workforce is a migrant work force. Most of them work on construction sites like the one behind me here. And this place is a construction site. And in the next 10 years, or nine years as Qatar invests some $100 billion in the World Cup projects, there will be more and more migrants coming.
There's 1.2 million migrant workers here at present many of whom say that they are paid very, very poorly, that they have inadequate housing conditions and that their employers take away their passports preventing them from leaving if they wanted to. There's an exit visa requirement here.
And so this kind of idea that Qatar were a slave state put out by the International Labor Union has been refuted, let me tell you, by the head of the committee here who says it's absolutely outrageous. But certainly Qatarees are prepared to at least look at the issues.
So, what have they done? Well, the government has said that it will start an independent inquiry by a law firm. And they will review the labor rights and regulations here. They say they may just not be being as efficient and enforced as they should be.
But listen, we went out and talked to some migrant workers. I want to show you some of the accommodation that we saw from some of these. This was a Nepalese taxi driver. Many of the Nepalese are the people in focus at present. There are 400,000 of them here. 65 Nepalese men died between the months of June, July and August, half of them from acute heart failure, put down, many say, to the heat and exhaustion here.
But these housing facilities for the guys that we met were pretty awful, it's got to be said. Seven men up in a room, really inadequate.
So, you can see that there are problems. I don't think the idea that there are problems here is anything new. And there are problems across this region.
But it's what Qatar does about it that counts at this point.
So, the government is on to things. People have told me that the conditions have improved of late, but things need to get better it is evident.
So this is really a cloud over and above the corruption -- potentially corruption around the bid processes. And, indeed, this question of whether it's too hot here to hold a tournament in the summer.
LU STOUT: All right, Becky Anderson reporting live from Doha for us. Thank you, Becky.
Now we've talked about the heat in Qatar, especially in the summer months. But just how hot could it get during the World Cup?
Now let's go straight to Samantha Moore. She joins us live from the world weather center -- Samantha.
SAMANTHA MOORE, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, let's take you into the Persian Gulf region right now, into the Capital City of Doha. And you can see the temperature is at 40 degrees. It was 41 degrees just a few minutes ago. Winds out of north at 26. And it's very dry there, obviously. The relative humid around 10 percent. So it is a dry heat, so it makes it a little more tolerable.
And in the winter, it's actually fairly comfortable. The extremes -- or I should say, the averages at 13 and 22. The summer averages, of course, a lot hotter. And in fact, we already reached the summer average high of 41 degrees so far today.
So incredibly hot there now. And incredibly hot in the summer.
Of course, the winter extreme is not bad, but those summer extremes are exceptionally hot and exceptionally dangerous to play in here with the summer extreme high temperature of 49 degrees. So, can you imagine practicing out in the practice fields in that, or playing a game in it, or even how that's going to impact all those people coming to and from the games.
And if the World Cup had been played this year in June, all but seven days topped 40 degrees. The highest temperature was over 46 degrees. And the coolest temperature was 27.5, but that was in the middle of the night and you can't play all of your games in the middle of the night. You can't practice at night all night long. So this is the conundrum that they're facing here and then how that will impact all of the economics surrounding this.
So, let's take a look at some of the games. Of course, Johannesburg has already been played. It was a cool World Cup series. Into Rio de Janeiro we go this year. Of course, fairly mild temperatures because it's going to be in the southern hemisphere in the winter there. So that's pretty comfortable for them.
Moscow on the comfortable side as well, but there you compare it to Doha, what we're expecting to see as far as those extremes in the summertime. And it is a very extreme heat, Kristie, and I think this will have extreme impacts on those decisions that need to be made.
LU STOUT: Yeah, these temperatures are incredibly hot and as you put it incredibly dangerous. Samantha Moore there.
Now Samantha, she has given us numbers, but how hot does it actually feel there in Qatar?
Let's go back to our Becky Anderson in Doha. And Becky, just how are you feeling out there?
ANDERSON: Yeah, all right. So let me give you sense. It's after 3:00 in the afternoon here. I've just looked at my phone. And Doha is at 41 degrees. I don't know if you can see that.
Now out here is a construction site just outside of our live shot position. I'm under a balcony here, so it's fairly -- it's fairly dealable with, let's say that. But imagine if you are either working on that construction site in this sort of heat, or you were playing football -- and that's the main thing -- in summer or winter.
So, imagine, it's the beginning of October now and it's 41 degrees at this time of day. And that's when games would be played.
If you were to hold this tournament in June or July -- or June and July, which is when the World Cup is normally held, you could be looking at temperatures of 50, 51, 52 into 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
I spoke to one of the players of the Qatari national team yesterday. And we were talking at a stadium where they have introduced cooling technology. And we were talking about the technology that they might introduce -- or they've certainly promised to introduce here in Qatar if the tournament were in the summer.
Now, I've got to tell you it was very hot yesterday, but when we got into the stadium it was incredibly cool. So certainly with the technology that's there at the moment you can cool the pitch, the stadium, the fans and the players down, but what about outside of the stadium when fans are queuing up? What about training facilities?
Well, Qatar have promised that they have prototype technology which will be installed in all the facilities to keep players and fans cool.
But I think it's pretty clear that FIFA made a decision three years ago to allow Qatar to host this World Cup. No talk as far as I can tell about whether they would change it to a winter World Cup or not. And now you're in a position where FIFA have really got to make a decision about what happens next, because we talked -- the player I talked to said he can deal with it, but he admitted that Europeans probably couldn't.
So it's a tough one and it's something that FIFA have to make a decision about their (inaudible) calling it the FIFA Qatatrophe, as it were. And you know, Sepp Blatter, still the president, looking for a fifth term at present. He's going to want to sort this out. But there's a lot of pushback on this being a winter World Cup. But, as you can tell, you know, October, 41 degrees at 3:00 in the afternoon. It would be unbearable.
Back to you guys.
LU STOUT: Yeah, just imagine the temperature at the height of summer.
Becky Anderson there live in Doha for us. Thank you.
And all of this, it just brings up the obvious question, why didn't FIFA know that it was so hot in Qatar? Well, of course they did. I want to show you an excerpt, take a look at this, this is from FIFA's own report evaluating Qatar's bid for the World Cup. And this is one of the documents that FIFA members use to decide who will host the tournament.
And right on page five is this, quote, "the fact that the competition is planned in June and July, the two hottest months of the year, has to be considered as a potential health risk for players, officials, the FIFA family and spectators."
Now remember, this report, it was produced before FIFA awarded Qatar the right to host the World Cup in June and July of 2022.
And if that part of the report wasn't clear enough, it also includes a chart showing summer temperatures in Qatar, which can remain as hot as 34 degrees Celsius even at 10:00 pm.
Now in about 20 minutes, we'll take you live to that FIFA news conference. Now officials are set to respond to pressure to move the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to winter.
Also ahead right here on News Stream, we'll have the latest on the disaster off the coast of Italy where a boat filled with African migrants sank on Thursday.
And in day four of the U.S. government shutdown, the president has canceled a trip to Asia. We'll show you what else has been affected by the shutdown.
LU STOUT: Now it is a day of mourning for those who lost their lives when a migrant boat on route to Italy capsized. As many as 500 migrants from Africa were on board this overcrowded boat. At least 111 have died. And around 200 are still missing.
Now rescuers plucked 155 people from the sea alive, but hopes of finding more survivors are fading.
Now the boat ran into trouble in waters near Italy just off the coast of the tiny island of Lampedusa. Now the island is often the first stop for African migrants desperate to find work in the European Union.
The pope even visited Lampedusa earlier this year to highlight the plight of refugees.
And following the recent disaster, he called for urgent action to prevent similar tragedies in the future.
Now senior international correspondent Matthew Chance filed this report a short time ago from Lampedusa.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But it's the scene of utter tragedy here on Lampedusa, the Italian coast guard say they've now recovered well over 100 bodies from the stricken vessel, which was carrying migrants.
But officials tell us there may be as many as 200 more people whose bodies remain trapped in the wreckage now lying 47 meters beneath the Mediterranean Sea. So it's clearly become one of the worst disasters involving migrants in recent years.
The UN says 155 people on board the boat, which capsized and caught fire on Thursday, have been rescued, most of them from the countries of Eritrea and Somalia.
The captain of the boat is among the survivors. He's said to be a 35- year-old man from Tunisia and is now under arrest.
The others, some of them are being treated at hospital. The others have been taken to a detention facility on the island to be process.
In the meantime, it is a day of mourning on this island and elsewhere as Italy marks what has been a terrible tragedy.
Matthew Chance, CNN, Lampedusa.
LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream. And coming up next, U.S. foreign policy gets caught in the fallout of the government shutdown. President Barack Obama calls off his trip to Asia. We have reaction from the region and the latest from Washington.
LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong. You are back watching News Stream.
Now U.S. President Barack Obama has canceled a planned trip to Asia this weekend. Now the White House says that Mr. Obama must stay in Washington to deal with the government shutdown, which is now in day four. That means the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will lead a delegation to the APEC Summit in Indonesia.
Now Mr. Obama's now canceled trip to Asia, it joins a long list of casualties of the U.S. government shutdown. Now for the first time since 1996, the monthly U.S. jobs report won't come out on schedule. And the Labor Department isn't saying when the report will be released.
Now only three of 2,400 employees at the Bureau of Labor Statistics are on duty because of the shutdown.
Now meanwhile, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, has had to recall some of its furloughed workers. Now they're being reactivated to prepare for Tropical Storm Karen, which is approaching the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Now some federal employees are continuing to work without pay, including the U.S. Capitol Police who responded to a security incident near the White House on Thursday. We'll tell you more about that in just a moment.
But first, there may be signs of compromise, at least when it comes to avoiding a default on U.S. debts.
Now Brianna Keilar is at the White House. She joins us now live. And Brianna, what is the latest on the debt limit standoff?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they seem to be blending together, Kristie, now as we're in the shutdown and the debt ceiling is creeping up upon us. But I will tell you that House Speaker John Boehner, while he's still standing firm against really conceding to the White House, still demanding those concessions regarding Obamacare when it comes to the shutdown, an indication that he may have more flexibility on the debt ceiling.
KEILAR: With the government partially shut down and the United States careening towards defaulting on its debts in mid-October, House Speaker John Boehner made a key admission about the debt ceiling. A Republican who spoke to CNN after a private meeting with house GOP members, said Boehner informed them he will not allow a default to happen, even if it means relying on votes from Democrats.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I'm all wired up here.
KEILAR: In a city that lives for an open mike moment to pull back the curtain.
SEN. RAND PAUL, (R) KENTUCKY: I just did CNN. And I just go over and over again, we're willing to compromise, we're willing to negotiate.
KEILAR: Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell and fellow Kentucky Senator Rand Paul delivered.
PAUL: I don't think they poll-tested, 'we won't negotiate.' I think it's awful for them to say that over and over again.
MCCONNELL: I do, too. I just came back from a two-hour meeting with him and that was, that was, that was basically the same view privately as it was publicly.
PAUL: I think if we keep saying we wanted to defund it, we fought for that, now we're willing to compromise on this. I think they can't- we're going to - I think, I know we don't want to be here but we're going to win this, I think.
KEILAR: But at a campaign-style event in Maryland...
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hello, everybody.
KEILAR: President Obama pulled a bit of an ace out of his sleeve, sounding the alarm for a key voting bloc, seniors.
OBAMA: In a government shutdown, Social Security checks still go out on time.
KEILAR: As he explained why defaulting is worse than a government shutdown.
OBAMA: In an economic shutdown, if we don't raise the debt ceiling they don't go out on time.
KEILAR: He again pressured House Speaker John Boehner to fund the government and drop Obamacare concessions.
OBAMA: Call a vote. Put it on the floor. Let every individual member of Congress make up their own minds, and they can show the American people, are you for a shutdown or not.
KEILAR: In an exclusive interview with CNN's Dana Bash, Senate Leader Harry Reid revealed he and Boehner originally struck a deal that included spending cuts.
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're saying that he told you, he promised you in a private meeting that he would pass a clean bill with no strings attached, particularly on Obamacare?
SEN. HARRY REID, D-NV: That's why we did it. That's why we agreed to that lower number. That's one of the largest compromises since I've been in Congress. That was a big deal, $70 billion just like that. And he couldn't deliver.
KEILAR: Now if that is an accurate account, Kristie, it sort of shows how House Speak John Boehner's initial intentions may have been thwarted by this small contingent of more conservative, or Tea Party Republicans in his conference.
You know at this point, talking to House Republicans, we're not hearing a whole lot in reaction to this, although privately I think some Republicans take issue with Reid's characterization of there having been a deal that Boehner reneged on.
LU STOUT: All right, Brianna Keilar reporting. Day four of the shutdown. We'll talk again next week.
Now we're expecting to hear from FIFA any minute now. But FIFA's president has already spoken out on Twitter. In fact, just a few moments ago. And Blatter says no decision on the date of the 2022 World Cup will be taken before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Now Blatter also addressed complaints about the treatment of workers in Qatar. And he said this, quote, "FIFA cannot interfere with the labor rights of any country, but we cannot ignore them."
So, FIFA's president has spoken out on Twitter. In a few minutes, he'll make those announcements to reporters. And we'll take his comments when they happen live.
LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.
Now first happening right now in Zurich, that meeting is underway. The press conference with the top officials of FIFA. There you see on your screen Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president, speaking. We will monitor this press conference for you. Any highlights, you'll get it right here in just a moment on News Stream.
Now meanwhile, the other headlines this day, Italy is observing a day of mourning for more than 100 African migrants who were killed when the boat capsized on Thursday. At least 111 people died when the overcrowded boat sank off the Italian island of Lampedusa. Some 200 are still missing. Pope Francis labeled the tragedy a disgrace. And he lashed out at what he called global indifference to the refugee crisis.
Now U.S. President Barack Obama will miss two upcoming summits in Asia. He is staying in Washington to deal with the U.S. government shutdown. The Secretary of State John Kerry is going to the APEC in (inaudible) in the president's place.
Now investigators are trying to learn why a woman with a child in the car tried to drive into a blocked entrance near the White House. Now she has been identified as 34-year-old Miriam Carey. And the incident, it led to a dramatic car chase in the very heart of Washington. And police say that Carey drove into an officer and a police cruiser. She was later shot and killed by authorities. The child was unharmed.
Now returning now to the center of the World Cup controversy, the Gulf country of Qatar. Now Becky Anderson is in the capital Doha. She joins us now live -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Thank you for that.
And as the press conference gets underway in Zurich at FIFA headquarters we will get back to that as and when we get any significant news viewers. So bear with us on that.
I want to bring in Lord Triesman for you now out of London. He was the chair of the England bid committee for 2018. They lost that, of course. The bids around the same time as -- in fact at the same time as the 2022 bid, of course, which Qatar won.
There's a number of issues sort of clouding this Qatar 2022 bid now, not least the issue of the heat in the summer, allegations of corruption around the bid, and indeed allegations of worker -- migrant worker problems as well.
So let's deal with those with Lord Triesman.
Sir, let's start with the heat. Should this tournament be moved to the winter?
LORD DAVID TRIESMAN, FORMER FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION CHAIRMAN: Well, I'm quite sure it can't be played in the summer. I've been in Qatar in the summer. It's not just hot, it's searingly hot. And even if it's possible to cool the players, and I'm not confident that it can be done, but even if that's possible the fan parks, the thing which really makes the World Cup a World Cup is the excitement, the pleasure of being involved and being in the open air. And I think everybody knows -- or anybody who has been in Qatar will certainly know, you just cannot hang out in the open air in temperatures of 45 or 50 degrees.
ANDERSON: This is a FIFA issue, of course. Let's just clarify and be transparent here. Qatar, themselves have said they can hold this tournament either in the summer or in the winter. They say they've got cooling technology in prototype at present. And nine years to go they say they will have developed that technology, which would keep not just the stadia cooler, but the fan areas. So that was something I learned yesterday when I was talking to the head of the cooling technology systems here.
But did you hear any talk of schedule changes during the bidding process for either 2018 or 2022? I'm trying to get to the bottom of whether this was ever brought up three years ago.
TRIESMAN: No, never once. And I think I can say that most of the people who were involved, and most of the countries involved in the 2022 bid, would be absolutely astonished by the fact that it's potentially now going to be a winter World Cup. Many of them would have probably adjusted their bids in significant ways. They've spent a great deal of money, as did Qatar itself, of course, in order to orchestrate effective bids for a summer tournament in 2022.
They will be feeling very, very aggrieved and so will many of those who have got other sports competitions, which would then be impacted significantly by a winter tournament.
ANDERSON: All right, OK, all right -- as you were bringing up the issue of the Australians, for example, who were bidding for this 2022 Cup, let's talk about these allegations of corruption in the bidding process. You were a chair of England's failed bid to host the Cup in 2018. You made a number of allegations about the bidding process to a parliamentary committee, I remember, back in 2011, not least that four FIFA members, you said, sought inducements at various times in return for backing England's failed 2018 bid.
Do you stand by those allegations?
TRIESMAN: The FIFA process is now doing its investigations. I have no further comment on it.
Well, Blatter did pledge to investigate any evidence of wrongdoing. And you're absolutely to say there is an investigator now, Michel Garcia, involved, albeit quite late it's got to be said.
Any idea why it's taking so long, this investigation?
TRIESMAN: No, I have no idea. I'm not on the inside track in any of that. But I don't think that it would be either possible or sensible for me to comment on a process which is plainly taking place, however long it's taking.
ANDERSON: All right.
Well, let me ask you, will you be meeting the man in charge?
TRIESMAN: I think that will depend on the advice that I'm given as well.
ANDERSON: Let me just press you on one other issue, because you know you're well aware that this investigation is about to begin, what do you understand to be the scope, the remit and the objectives of this investigation?
TRIESMAN: Well, as far as I know the intention is to ensure that FIFA's reputation is reestablished. And that's no easy job. And I suspect that Mr. Garcia will decide on the extent and the scope. And he doesn't seem to have placed any restrictions on what he himself wants to do.
So I would imagine that it would be far and it will be wide-ranging.
ANDERSON: Australia, as I said earlier, has already said it may seek compensation for their failed 2022 bid. Will England seek compensation too, sir, briefly?
TRIESMAN: I -- it's conceivable. I think everybody who took part in the bidding will have done so on the basis that the competition would be held at a particular time. If that changes, it would mean that everybody who had bid would probably have bid in a different way, or decided not to bid. I mean, that might have been true as well.
I think that Qatar plainly won it. I've no difficulty with the concept that they competed and they won it. But other people will feel aggrieved if there's a change, which they weren't allowed to respond to, because they didn't know it was going to be made.
ANDERSON: Sir, let me just clarify, you're saying it's conceivable that England could look to be compensated for the millions it spent on its bid?
TRIESMAN: Well, the authorities at the FA I suspect will look at the matter. They'll come to their conclusions as I suspect every bidding nation will do. I have no idea whether they will decide that they want to be compensated or not. They were more focused on 2018 than on 2022, that might be a mitigating factor.
But everybody will say, you know, particularly when you're talking about a sport, you can't really change the rules halfway through the game.
ANDERSON: All right, for the time being Lord Triesman, thank you very much indeed for joining us.
If you're with me, sort of five or six minutes ago you'll know it's 41, 42 degrees here. And it is the beginning of October, imagine just how hot it is here in June and July. That would be a summer tournament.
For the time being, let's get you back to Hong Kong.
LU STOUT: All right, Becky Anderson there, thank you.
Now let's bring in CNN's Amanda Davies in London. And Amanda, right now we're looking at live pictures of that FIFA press conference underway in Zurich. The FIFA President Sepp Blatter has been addressing reporters there, but he made a public address moments ago online on Twitter about the timing of the World Cup in Qatar. What did he say?
DAVIES: Yeah, true to form, Sepp Blatter gives with one hand, takes away with the other. Before this press conference started about 10 minutes before it started via his Twitter account @SeppBlatter he did confirm what was widely expected that a taskforce has been set up, or will be set up to look into the issues surrounding the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
He has said the (inaudible) decided to launch a consultation process among the main stakeholders for Qatar 2022 dates. Then the other thing, which we expected, because of the difficulties with the international football calendar and the Brazil World Cup just next June. He went on to say no decision will be taken before the 2014 World Cup.
And then in separate tweet, he said FIFA cannot interfere with the labor rights of any country, but we cannot ignore them.
That, of course, after various stories that have come out in the last few days about the treatment of migrant workers involved in the construction of buildings and infrastructure for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
We were then expecting, of course, this press conference that FIFA housed to get a little bit more meat on those bones. But Sepp Blatter has decided to start his press conference in French. He will later on be moving on to English.
I have very basic French, I have to tell you, Kristie, but what I can confirm that Sepp Blatter has said is that Qatar -- the World Cup in 2022 will be played in Qatar. That, of course, was one of the other issues that people suspected would be looked at. Should we go to a revote?
Of course, the likes of the USA, Australia, Japan, South Korea they were also bidding for this World Cup in 2022. They were hoping that maybe it would go to a revote. They would get a second shot at this tournament, which is still some nine years away. But Sepp Blatter has confirmed what was decided back in December 2010 and that is that Qatar will be the hosts of this World Cup in 2022. We just need to wait and see at what point in the calendar that will be.
LU STOUT: Yeah, so the 2022 World Cup will indeed -- we heard it from Sepp Blatter, take place in Qatar. He's speaking now in English, let's listen in.
SEPP BLATTER, FIFA PRESIDENT: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
LU STOUT: OK, our apologies there, this has been a bilingual press event. He's been bouncing back and forth between the two languages.
We have our multilingual Amanda Davies standing by. And she was telling us earlier that she overheard Sepp Blatter in this press conference in Zurich confirming that Qatar will indeed host the 2022 World Cup, but of course timing is still an issue.
And Amanda, we know that FIFA is announcing not a decision on timing, but that a consultative process will begin, that they need to consult a number of stakeholders before they can make any sort of decision on timing and changing the World Cup from a tournament in the summer to a tournament to take place in the winter.
Can you give us an idea of who those stakeholders are from professional leagues, to media broadcast partners, who will they have to talk to?
DAVIES: This is, Kristie, the biggest sporting event in the world, isn't it? Unsurprisingly, there are so many different factors, different parties to take into account. The first is FIFA and the fact that the initial bid process for this World Cup was for a summer world cup, not a winter World Cup.
There is then the issue of the other nations that I mentioned who bid for it. That likes of Australia and their bid head Frank Lowe have already said that their would seek legal compensation if this Qatar event gets moved to the wintertime in the calendar, because the ground rules and what people voted on and what Australia put their bid forward for was a summer World Cup.
There's then aside from that, the different leagues from around the world. The European club association, at their last meeting, headed by Karl Hans Rummenigge of Germany, said that, yes, they agree that a consultation process should take place, but a large number of those leagues have serious reservations about the tournament being moved.
So many of the leagues around Europe do have a winter break. The likes of Germany have the longest winter break. But the English Premier League, for example, have never agreed to that, despite many discussions here about how much more beneficial it would be for the English national side to have a winter break, the Premier League, which is such a powerful body in its own right, and the television stakeholders that show the Premier League, have never agreed for that to take place. Because the Christmas period, as it is here, is perhaps the most popular period of the Premier League calendar. So they have said they would be very, very averse to moving it on the calendar.
They say that in terms of the scheduling, it would affect three whole years of schedules for that to take place.
There is also the issue of other sporting events. The International Olympic Committee have the Winter Olympics at the start of 2022. That, they don't know where it will be hosted yet, but they obviously don't want that overshadowed either.
And then as I mentioned the television broadcasters Fox in the USA have said that they would have some objections to it as well.
So there's a lot of parties to keep happy.
In terms of how the international footballing calendar stands at the moment, it is only scheduled until 2018. And the next round of meetings to decide the schedule going forward is still some way off. So there are certainly would be room to make the changes, but the cost of those changes and the political outfall of those changes would certainly be quite large.
LU STOUT: Yeah, so quite a number of powerful bodies will be brought into this decision making process, but given the truly searing summer temperatures in Qatar, are you getting the sense that and moved to winter is in the end inevitable?
DAVIES: I think that is the overriding feeling. Michel Platini, a former player, the head of European football's governing body UEFA, who voted for Qatar at the elections in 2010, he has put is hands up and admitted that, yes, he feels it would be too hot for the players to play at the time that we're talking about. And indeed we knew early on in the bidding process, didn't we?
I've got a copy of the report here, the bid evaluation report for Qatar 2022. On page 8 and 9 it says that they are aware that the temperatures would be very, very difficult for players to play the game that they love and that they're paid to play at that time of year.
Some medical advice that has come through from universities, various studies that have taken place, has said that if players had a long enough buildup period that they could adjust their bodies to the temperatures. And yes you can air condition stadiums, but World Cups are so much more than that, Kristie, aren't they? They are events that spectators from around the world attend. And the problem is you can't air condition a whole country, or as far as I'm aware nobody has managed to do that yet.
LU STOUT: Yeah, let's get the view from Qatar on this. Amanda Davies there joining us live from London, thank you so much for that.
We have our Becky Anderson standing by live from Doha for us.
And, Becky, has Qatar backed the idea of potentially hosting a World Cup in the winter?
ANDERSON: Yeah. They've said they'll do it in the summer or the winter, it doesn't both them. They won the bid. It was three years ago. And let's just get on with it effectively.
It's interesting what Amanda just said, she's not sure that any one country has actually come up with a way of air conditioning the whole place, well let me tell you if anybody can do it, Qatar could do it.
I mean, this is a very small Gulf nation. I'm being a little bit facetious here.
But let me tell you, I spoke to the guy who is the head of the cooling technology. He's got nine years to work what is in prototype at the moment into scale, sustainability and environmentally friendly technology that could air condition all of the stadia, not just the pitch area, but the fan areas as well so that the fans inside the stadium and the players are comfortable in any heat.
I spoke to him yesterday, and it was fascinating. I said, (inaudible) you know as Amanda said, that's not what it's all about, it's about the fans outside, about the fan zones. You know, you can't air condition everywhere. And he said, well, actually you can go a good way to helping out. There will be shaded areas where fans might be queuing. In the fan zones they'll be covered and they'll be sort of air conditioning water sprays for their sort of sense of accommodation.
So there's a lot that can be done. He absolutely promises that the cooling technology will exist and will be in place for 2022.
But when I put it to him this must be one of the projects of his life and won't he be disappointed if indeed the bid goes to the winter. There's no need for this sort of, you know, mass air condition on this enormous scale. He said it would be a bit disappointed, but Qatar is actually agreed, in principle, to perfect this technology whether the tournament was in the summer or the winter. So the project goes on.
I was reminding you just earlier on it's 42 degrees. It's the beginning of October and it's 3:30 in the afternoon here. You know, it is very, very hot in the summer.
I spoke to a Qatari national player yesterday who said, look, we can put up with it, but he did agree that the Europeans might find the heat unbearable in the summer months.
But you asked me a question, what do the Qataris say in all of this? It's not their problem, it's FIFA's and the Qataris say we will get on with the tournament whenever you tell us to. It doesn't both them in the list.
What's bothering them more are these allegations of migrant worker sort of problems that there are here. One of the NGOs, a big labor union, international labor union has called this a slave state after a number of media organizations have been investigating the quality of life for migrant workers here. And many are here in the construction industry and many of whom have got very low pay, very inadequate housing conditions. Their passports taken away so they can't get out of the country even if they want to.
We've been doing our own investigations. We've spoken to the Nepalese embassy for example. They say 65 Nepalese men died in June, July and August. Half of them died of acute heart failure. Many would put that down to the searing heat and long conditions that they work in.
The government here says that they are addressing these problems. They say that there are regulations that perhaps they're not being enforced enough. They've told us that they will start an independent inquiry, but an independent consultant. And that will look into our workers conditions here can be improved.
90 percent of the labor force here are migrant workers. Important, too, the Nepalese. 400,000 of them, they sent their money home. 25 percent of GDP in Nepal remittances. So the story works both ways. But certainly there have been massive allegations here about what is effectively modern-day slavery.
So Qatar, I think, caring more about that. They will be please to know today that the World Cup will go ahead. The question, of course now, is just when.
Let me just remind viewers of what Sepp Blatter said on the workers' right front. He said that's not something that FIFA should get involved with, although he did say it's an issue that they should be concerned by, or words to that effect.
So an interesting press conference today effectively FIFA deferring, once again, the decision about when this world Cup will be held until the results of a consultative investigation.
LU STOUT: Yeah, you're absolutely right, Becky. I mean, earlier we heard from the FIFA president. He issued that statement saying that FIFA, regarding these allegations of worker abuse there in Qatar said FIFA will not interfere, but FIFA will investigate the matter.
And back to what you said earlier, Becky, that there, authorities in Qatar they are taking these allegations seriously, but do you get the sense that they are seriously concerned about it to the point of being committed to worker safety ahead of the 2022 World Cup?
ANDERSON: You make a very good point. And I've spoken to people across the divide while I've been out here and we've been doing this story now for many months. And I was speaking to members of the press team at the World Cup committee here. And I think across the board, people understand that this is an incredibly important issue. Workers' rights and issues around those are not just a problem for Qatar, they are a problem across the Gulf region. I think that would be fair to say. And I think there is a sense at this stage that whatever the legacy that the World Cup will leave for Qatar -- sports stadiums, more support, there's a food security issue here that could be addressed, I think there's a sense now that the best legacy that could be left on the back of this World Cup would be an improvement in the rights of the many hundreds of thousands of en and women who were in this region -- as I say, not just in Qatar, an improvement in their rights across the board.
And if that were to be the case, I think there could be no better place to hold the World Cup in 2022 than Qatar, because these allegations of modern-day slavery are awful. And they shouldn't have any place in a modern world, should they? But we are well aware that they do around the world in various guises.
So, as I say, a legacy of an improvement in workers' rights in this region could be fantastic.
LU STOUT: Got it. All right, Becky Anderson there joining us live from Doha thank you.
That's right, let's go straight back to Zurich where Sepp Blatter is speaking taking questions. Let's listen in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Surely what you should do is remove the World Cup and rerun the 2022 vote.
BLATTER: (inaudible) this is not a question, this is a declaration. I take note of it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you agree?
BLATTER: No, I don't agree. I first explained what we are doing. So it is a declaration. We note this declaration, but I cannot agree to that. I have to said what the executive committee has decided.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next one, please.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Blatter, Jamir Shade (ph) from (inaudible). You didn't mention the preparations for the World Cup in Brazil, which is your next one. And we know it's not up to date. But my question is also on the question that players in Brazil have requested to have a bigger word (inaudible) at the agenda of the matches in Brazil.
Do you fear, or do you feel that since here you are also taking players to discuss the international calendar? Do you think in Brazil, players should be listened by CBS? Thank you.
BLATTER: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
LU STOUT: OK, our apologies, but we did warn you about this earlier that Sepp Blatter there at this FIFA conference taking place in Zurich has been giving this press conference and answering questions in both French and English. Unfortunately, no translation available there.
But we do have our Amanda Davies listening in. And she's standing by live in London for us. And Amanda, I don't know if you picked up anything just there, but of course we're focused on the controversy of the Qatar World Cup. And a rather defiant tone from him earlier taking in that question just now.
DAVIES: Yeah, precisely. We always knew this was going to be an important couple of days in terms of the Qatar 2022 World Cup. There's lots of different theories that have been bandied around in the runup to this, but what do we know from what we've learned today? I can tell you the World Cup in 2022 will take place in Qatar, that was Sepp Blatter real defiance there. He really did not want to know when the question was posed should there be a revote? He -- that was not on the agenda as far as he was concerned.
The 25 person executive committee have voted that a task force will be set up, that is the other thing we know. That task force will be led by the FIFA general secretary Jerome Valca (ph), assisted by Sheikh Al-Khalifa (ph) who is from Bahrain. He is the member of the executive committee, the president of the Asian football confederation. And they are addressing and consulting on various issues surrounding the Qatar World Cup, but there will be no verdict in terms of the timing of the World Cup in the calendar until after next year's 2014 World Cup in Brazil at the earliest.
They are the solid things that we have learned. The other things that Sepp Blatter was very keen to speak about, of course, is this issue of the migrant workers and the treatment of the migrant workers in Qatar. The reports of deaths and their dreadful working conditions. Blatter has confirmed that he will lead a FIFA delegation to Qatar to address the issue of working conditions. But then said FIFA cannot interfere with the labor rights of any country, but we cannot ignore them.
He says this intervention can only be carried out by Qatar itself. They have said they will do so.
They are pretty much, Kristie, the top lines of what we know that have come out of this press conference.
Of course, there is still nine years to go until this World Cup. There is a very long way to go.
Normally, the major events get about seven years go plan themselves, so Qatar have certainly had a head start.
But the top line from the press conference is this World Cup will take place in Qatar in 2022. The question remains is it going to be summer or is it going to be winter?
LU STOUT: All right, Amanda Davies there joining us live from London. Thank you.
And you've been watching live pictures from Zurich of that FIFA press conference underway about the controversial Qatar 2022 World Cup. At issue really two main things: the timing, whether it's going to moved from summer to winter, and the treatment of migrant workers there in the country. We'll continue to watch that press conference for you, but for now let's got to World Business Today.