FIFA president Sepp Blatter revealed some of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar could be held in Iran and other Middle Eastern countries.
UEFA chief Michel Platini had previously suggested the idea of turning the finals into an event shared across the Gulf states, following allegations of ill-treatment of construction workers involved in the colossal redevelopment work taking place to ready Qatar for the tournament.
Blatter has now gone one step further by stating that Iran could also be a viable option to co-host the showpiece in nine years' time.
"This is a question I keep a big question mark behind," he told reporters in Abu Dhabi ahead of the Under-17 World Cup final. "I passed through Iran and, even on a political level, they said they would be happy to host some of the matches. Not only the Gulf states, but also Iran. This is a matter for the United Arab Emirates as well, they are very eager.
"Also, I want to avoid all this criticism concerning workers' rights, but this is another problem. To have the finals in different countries is not a new fact, and I am sure it is something on the table at a certain time. We need to take this step by step. We have up until 2022 to make a decision, nine years."
Despite the complications of attempting to share the tournament across multiple nations, Blatter maintains his priority is to arrange for a winter tournament in 2022 in order to combat the intense heat and humidity of the Gulf summer.
"The first step is figuring out how it can be made in winter, November or December. This will be discussed up until the next World Cup," said the Swiss. "Our main concern is to consult with stakeholders, and all participants in football clubs, leagues, national federations and players. Another category is the economic partners, marketing, media and television. To spread it to other countries isn't a new point. It’s an interesting one."