March 11 – Qatar’s 2022 World Cup CEO Nasser Al-Khater has added his voice to speculation that the tournament could be shared with Kuwait and Oman by insisting that no decision has been made on the issue.
Al-Khater told beIN SPORTS in a written statement that Qatar “has not taken any decision to participate with other countries.”
The FIFA Council is due to decide later this week whether the 2022 tournament will be expanded from 32 to 48 teams – a process currently due to come into effect four years later in 2026 but which could be fast-tracked – or whether to postpone any decision until the FIFA congress in June pending the outcome of a feasibility study.
Only if Qatar shares the tournament can an extra 16 finalists realistically be considered and Gianni Infantino has raised the prospect of spreading the event out across several countries in the Middle East.
But in a separate interview with Goal, Al-Khater made it clear nothing would be decided without Qatar’s consent.
“At the end of the feasibility and the consultancy process, we will be presented with the findings,” he said. “Ultimately, the decision stays with us – we, with the state of Qatar. The state of Qatar has bid for this as a World Cup of 32 teams in Qatar. We now, as a joint venture responsible for organising this World Cup, are working on the plans of a 32-team World Cup in Qatar.”
However he hinted, perhaps inadvertently, that this week was too early for any decision and that a firm ruling might have to be stalled for three months. “I think by June we will know the direction that will be taken.”
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