19 days to go to the AFC Asian Cup, UAE 2019

Mexican stand-off? Speculation on World Cup hosting borders on fantasy? But it’s a good tale

December 6 – Unlikely as it may seem, FIFA are reportedly considering the option of pushing back Qatar’s staging of the World Cup to 2026 because of the current impasse in the area – and splitting 2022 between the United States, Canada and Mexico who are bidding for the later tournament.

The speculation has been started by the Mexican newspaper Récord, but has not been substantiated and seems highly improbable not least because the vote for 2026 doesn’t even take place until next June.

Unconfirmed reports suggest Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt want Qatar stripped of hosting rights and Récord suggests that FIFA are concerned  the political and economic blockade on Qatar by its neighbours is taking its toll.

Qatari organisers persistently insist the closed borders are having little or no effect on preparations.

Last month, supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy Secretary General, Hassan Al Thawadi told Spanish publication El Pais: “This is an illegal and unjust blockade. How does this affect the organisation of the World Cup? We have a plan B. We have established very fast supply routes and the projects are adjusting to the planned programme.”

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