Infantino says joint bids are the World Cup’s future, but ‘desert’ comment looks tactless

world cup

By Andrew Warshaw

July 18 – With attention now switched to Qatar 2022 following the World Cup in Russia, FIFA president Gianni Infantino has again provided an indication of where his thinking lies with regard to future bids.

With 2026 going to the United States, Canada and Mexico, Infantino has re-iterated his stance that the days of single hosts are almost certainly over given the expansion of the event.

In what appeared to be pointed reference to Qatar though the Gulf state was not mentioned by name, Infantino made an interesting – if largely unreported – comment when he addressed the media last week in Moscow.

“We must not create white elephant stadiums in the desert that won’t be used after the World Cup,” he said.

The remark has so far drawn little, if any, response from the Qataris, publicly at least though privately they might have questioned his choice of words. But it illustrated the way bidding is going for future tournaments and the importance of genuine legacy afterwards.

“I believe in joint bids because the World Cup is an enormous event,” Infantino added.  “It is good to have joint bids and for two or three countries to organise the tournament.”

The British federations have immediately jumped on Infantino’s remarks as encouragement for pressing ahead with a bid for 2030.

Former Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan says an England-led proposal is “definitely on the radar”.

Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay have already announced their intention to jointly bid to host what would be the centenary World Cup. So has Morocco which could be supported by Algeria and Tunisia.

It is not yet known whether or not, if a joint UK-wide bid were successful, all four home nations would automatically qualify as hosts.

FIFA is still to decide whether the US, Mexico and Canada will all be given automatic berths though that’s what happened with Japan and South Korea in 2002.

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