Monday, April 22, 2019 | ePaper

Infantino holds Kuwait talks on staging 2022 World Cup games

  • Print
AP, New York :
FIFA President Gianni Infantino held talks in Kuwait on Sunday about the country staging 2022 World Cup matches as he pushes to enlarge the Qatar tournament from 32 to 48 teams.
After meeting with the emir of Kuwait and soccer officials, Infantino flew to Doha to see Qatari leaders on Monday about the prospect of overcoming the logistical and political complexities of adding 16 more teams to the hosting, which requires at least one additional Gulf country being used.
FIFA maintains it is working jointly with Qatar on the viability of a 48-team tournament, but the concept is mired in complexities stemming from the boycott of Doha by neighbors. A FIFA internal report concluded last month that the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia cannot join the hosting unless they restore economic and travel ties with Qatar that were severed two years ago.
FIFA instead turned to Kuwait and Oman, who have remained neutral in the diplomatic dispute, as potential hosts. But Oman's foreign minister last week said his country does not have time to prepare to host World Cup games, leaving Kuwait as the only current viable option to cope with the Nov. 21 through Dec. 18 tournament swelling to 80 games.
Infantino met with Kuwait's ruler, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim and the management of the Kuwait Football Association, FIFA said in a statement. The discussions were "about football in the country in general, but also about the FIFA World Cup 2022," the world governing body said.
FIFA's feasibility study into expanding the World Cup determined that two stadiums in at least one additional country were required to cope with the demands of extra games. Kuwait City's Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium has 60,000 seats but Sabah Al-Salem Stadium only 26,000 and requires upgrades.
Ahead of Infantino arriving in Doha, Qatari officials held their first World Cup board meeting of the year on Sunday chaired by the ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
"The latest Qatar 2022 developments were reviewed, including infrastructure projects, stadiums and security plans for the tournament," said Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy.
But those plans are in flux amid Infantino's determination to enlarge the tournament with less than four years to go until kickoff.
Qatar is still working on a 32-team tournament as it completes eight stadiums over just a 30-mile radius in the tiny nation with just 2.7 million people, most of them foreign workers.
Infantino said last week that he now believes there is only a 50% chance that the 2022 World Cup will see a fast-tracking of the jump to 48 teams that is already agreed to happen in 2026 when the United States, Canada and Mexico are joint hosts.

More News For this Category

AC Milan fined 86,000 euros for Kessie, Bakayoko shirt prank

AC Milan fined 86,000 euros for Kessie, Bakayoko shirt prank

Agency :AC Milan and the Serie A club's players Tiemoue Bakayoko and Franck Kessie have been fined a total of 86,000 euros ($97,000) for holding up Lazio defender Francesco

Hamilton helps Toronto FC rally to beat Minnesota United

Hamilton helps Toronto FC rally to beat Minnesota United

AP, Toronto :Substitute Jordan Hamilton scored in the 77th and 79th minutes to give Toronto FC a 4-3 comeback victory over Minnesota United on Friday night.Hamilton converted a pass

Neymar near comebacks as stuttering PSG try to wrap up title

Neymar near comebacks as stuttering PSG try to wrap up title

Agency :It has turned into something of an epic limp towards the finish line, but Paris Saint-Germain will hope to finally secure another Ligue 1 title when they play

Depay helps Lyon end winless streak

Depay helps Lyon end winless streak

Agency :Memphis Depay helped Lyon defeat Angers 2-1 in Ligue 1 on Friday to end a three match winless run and maintain their push for Champions League football next

Euro run helping Arsenal's top four bid, says Maitland-Niles

Euro run helping Arsenal's top four bid, says Maitland-Niles

AFP, London :Ainsley Maitland-Niles believes Arsenal's run to the Europa League semi-finals will aid their Premier League top four push against Crystal Palace on Sunday.Unai Emery's side advanced to

Solskjaer eyes strong finish as Everton lie in wait

Solskjaer eyes strong finish as Everton lie in wait

AFP, Manchester :Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has five games left in the Premier League season to prove conclusively that the club's hierarchy did not act too hastily in making him

Aim to make tournament memorable: Coach Choton

Aim to make tournament memorable: Coach Choton

BSS, Dhaka :Bangladesh U-19 women's football team coach Golam Rabbani Choton said his team want to make the tournament, named after Bangamata, a memorable putting on their best efforts.He

Juve look to bury Champions League misery with another Serie A crown

Juve look to bury Champions League misery with another Serie A crown

Juventus turn the page on yet another Champions League disappointment as they focus on sealing an eighth consecutive Serie A title at home on Saturday.Massimiliano Allegri's side host Fiorentina needing

Chelsea survive fright night to reach Europa League semi-finals

Chelsea survive fright night to reach Europa League semi-finals

Chelsea were given a fright by Slavia Prague in a 4-3 home win on Thursday that saw them to a 5-3 aggregate victory and a place in the semi-finals of

Arsenal dump out Ancelotti's Napoli to reach Europa League semis

Arsenal dump out Ancelotti's Napoli to reach Europa League semis

Alexandre Lacazette scored the only goal as Arsenal dispatched Napoli 1-0 on Thursday to advance to the Europa League semi-finals 3-0 on aggregate.Lacazette's stunning 36th-minute free-kick put the English club