FIFA continues expanding 2022 World Cup to 48 teams after considering Oman & Kuwait to become co-hosts with Qatar as a result of its diplomatic standoff with Arab neighbors.
The infrastructures of Qatar are ready to host the first Wcup of Middle East & Gianni Infantino – the President of Fifa – about to add 16 countries to the planned 32-team tournament.
That means eight stadiums will host many games in only 30-mile radius in Qatar which is considered a tiny country with a population of 2.7 million most of them are foreigners.
Infantino suggested that Saudi Arabia can host some games for an expanded 2022 tournament regardless that KSA leads the isolation campaign against Qatar.
Last month, Infantino visited Kuwait & Oman on Sunday as they remained neutral in diplomatic battle began in June 2017 after accusing Qatar of supporting terrorism.
FIFA members has agreed expanding the World Cup with 48 teams planned for 2026 World Cup hosted by Mexico, Canada & US.
Infantino announced that Qatar couldn’t cope with 16 more games which leaves no choice to fast-track the expansion to 2022.
KSA has been leading travel & economic boycott against Qatar with collaboration of UAE which means any attempt to host games in those countries will be problematic.
“As far as the co-hosting, currently with the crisis on, I think Kuwait can play a very important role. They have one big international stadium, and they are building two extra stadiums. That could solve the problem and it would easier for the Qataris if the crisis is resolved because you (could) have Saudi Arabia and the UAE”, UAE General Authority for Sports, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Khalfan Al Romaithi said
The World Cup was shifted from the usual June-July slot to be operated in a curtailed 28-day period from Nov. 21-Dec. 18, 2022 in order to avoid fierce summer heat of Qatar.
Twelve stadiums are necessary for 48 teams playing 80 games. However, Qatar built only eight stadiums for a 64-game tournament.
“Qataris are my brothers. The World Cup is a Qatari World Cup, not any other country. This is their hard work. They won the bid in 2010 and they worked hard to build the stadiums and they are almost ready to host 32 teams.But if a decision is taken by FIFA to increase to 48 then I hope that we all support which means the tension or problems in the Gulf is resolved”, Al Romaithi said
Montagliani, FIFA Vice President wants ruling council of governing body to decide whether meeting in Florida next week will witness expanding to 48 teams or not.
“I support it. I start in a positive way — unless there is something that makes me change my mind — i.e. Qatar doesn’t want it — or the analysis is negative then I would have to rethink my positive stance.I would think we have to have some sort of resolution in Miami because World Cup qualifying starts in some parts of the world this year. The same reason we expanded to 48 teams for 2026. It inspires hope, giving more countries inspiration”, Montagliani said