2022 World Cup

Is World Cup Air Conditioning Making Players Sick?

Brazilian players blamed the stadiums’ air conditioning systems on feeling poorly during the soccer tournament’s group stage.   December 9, 2022

By Greg Zimmerman, senior contributing editor

Has sick building syndrome come to the World Cup? According to multiple media reports, several Brazilian players during the group stage of this year’s World Cup in Qatar complained of coughing and “bad throats." 

What might be behind the supposed soccer syndrome? The Brazilian players are certain it’s the air conditioning in the stadiums, according to the UK Mail Online. The eight stadiums being used for the World Cup in and around Doha, Qatar, are fitted with “nozzles placed under seats” as well as a series of nozzles around the pitch itself to try to keep the playing surface cool. There are also air vents at the top of the stadiums, despite the fact that the stadiums are open air. 

Because the stadiums are open air, and sick building syndrome or air conditioning sickness is usually caused by contaminants or pathogens being blown around by an HVAC system in a poorly ventilated space, it’s a little hard to believe the Brazilian players’ claims. Maybe some more soccer gamesmanship has been afoot here? 

Greg Zimmerman is senior contributing editor for FacilitiesNet.com and Building Operating Management magazine. 


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