Qatar Football Association (QFA) president Hamad ben Khalifa ben Ahmed Al-Thani has rejected suggestions that the country could look to share the 2022 FIFA World Cup with its neighbours.
The 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea remains the only edition of the tournament to be hosted by more than one country with FIFA steadfast in its belief that its showpiece event should retain its traditional hosting strategy. Qatar’s population of less than two million people has led to suggestions that its World Cup could be shared with other countries.
However, Al-Thani told French newspaper L’Equipe: “In the agreement we signed with FIFA, it states only one country shall host the tournament. There’s no question of sharing it with two or three countries. The idea of a competition spread around the Gulf is not a bad idea in itself. But I can confirm: Qatar will be the sole host of the 2022 World Cup.”
Meanwhile, the QFA president repeated the organiser’s stance that Qatar 2022 would consider a switch to a winter tournament if an official request was made. “When our bid was selected by FIFA, everyone knew the World Cup was due to be played in June and July,” he added. “It’s true, though, that the tournament is about more than just Qatar. It’s universal. If FIFA and UEFA, notably, want to propose other dates, we have strong reasons to study that suggestion. For the moment, we’re going ahead with the plan that it’ll be held in the summer. We respect (UEFA president) Michel Platini’s opinion, but it’s only an opinion as FIFA have not sent us an official request to study as yet.”