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Cooney on Soccer: The Air Conditioning World Cup
Our latest letter from Doha discusses one of the defining parts of the Qatar World Cup: Air Conditioning.

LAST UPDATE | Dec 7th 2022, 3:06 PM

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This article by Gavin Cooney is available in full exclusively to The42 Members.

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LET’S START WITH one of sportswriting’s set texts: Frank Sinatra Has a Cold by Gay Talese. Back in 1965, Talese was sent by Esquire to write a profile of Sinatra, but things were complicated by the fact Sinatra was unwell, and thus reneged on an interview. 

Talese thus interviewed everyone around Sinatra he could find, and ended up writing a classic, incisive profile of Sinatra without ever speaking to him. The writing lesson: there’s gold to be mined from the most unpromising of hills. 

And so I’ve come to the World Cup to write my counterpart to that famous piece. 

I present to you Every Sportswriter in Qatar Has a Cold. (Given the inevitable clamour for the movie rights, I’m happy to play myself.) 

The sounds of the press box have been sniffles, snorts and coughs, the cause of which is one of the defining facets of the Qatar World Cup: Air Conditioning. 

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This is the Air Con Cup, where the giant fans are pointed even at the sun. 

We have all come to the desert under-dressed, with air con chilling every room we step into and every mode of transport we use. Those quick changes of temperatures from outside – it’s still around 30 degrees with little available shade – means most of us have picked up colds from the abrupt changes in temperatures.  It’s not just the hacks who have been struggling….

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