Tuesday, June 18, 2019 | ePaper

Qatar officials say 48-team World Cup will not be 'imposed'

  • Print


AFP, Doha :
The organisers of the 2022 Qatar World Cup said on Saturday that "there will be no decision imposed" on the country to extend the tournament to 48 teams.
Anticipation is mounting ahead of the final decision, due to be announced in Paris at the beginning of June, whether to retain a 32-team format or expand it.
"(The) decision will be made between FIFA and Qatar," said Hassan al-Thawadi, the secretary general of Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy.
"In case a decision is made it will be due to our willingness and belief in the benefits of the increase. If we find that there is no benefit to it, or that the negatives are more than the positives, our decision will be to remain on 32 teams."
Expansion could mean FIFA seeking co-hosts in the region willing to support Qatar, a complicated proposition for Doha which is subject to an ongoing embargo by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their allies.
"In case it is increased, (the feasibility study) favours expansion to other countries," said al-Thawadi.
"We are studying (it) in all seriousness and the decision will be next month and it will be final."
Talks between FIFA and Qatari organisers are ongoing, he added during a media briefing in Doha.
"I will leave the period of suspense until we announce it next month," said al-Thawadi.
Al-Thawadi said that following Thursday's opening of the al-Janoub stadium, the first purpose-built for the tournament, "we have now six more stadiums to go".
"By the end of this year (or) first quarter of next year we will be launching two stadiums as well," he said.
The exact date would depend on the timing of events to launch the two venues, he added.
"By 2021 all our stadiums will be ready," he said, adding that the remaining stations of the recently-launched metro system would be fully operational by 2020, linking stadiums and the airport.
"I'm very proud to say that infrastructure-wise, we are there."
On Friday training site project manager Ahmed al-Obaidly said that the 41 training sites required for a 32-team World Cup were ready and that any increase in participants would be addressed.
FIFA recommended in March that the number of teams should be raised to 48 for 2022, ahead of the planned 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Al-Janoub, which was known as al-Wakrah stadium until the country's emir announced the name change in a tweet ahead of the inaugural match, was the latest milestone in Qatar's preparations.
Spectators were treated to a laser show, a military band and fireworks before the final of the domestic Emir Cup in which al-Sadd were beaten 1-4 by al-Duhail.
"It was a great success," said al-Thawadi. "(But) there were definitely lessons learned in there."
The 40,000-capacity stadium was designed by British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid and cost an estimated $575 million.

More News For this Category

Suarez, Cavani score as Uruguay crush 10-man Ecuador in Copa America

Suarez, Cavani score as Uruguay crush 10-man Ecuador in Copa America

AFP, Belo Horizonte :Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani were on target as Uruguay thumped 10-man Ecuador 4-0 in their opening Group C match at the Copa America on Sunday.Nicolas Lodeiro

Qatar hit back to snatch Paraguay draw in Copa America debut

Qatar hit back to snatch Paraguay draw in Copa America debut

AFP, Rio De Janeiro :Boualem Khoukhi scored 13 minutes from time as Asian champions Qatar hit back from 2-0 down to earn a 2-2 draw with Paraguay at the Copa

Salah helps Egypt to another Africa Cup warm-up victory

Salah helps Egypt to another Africa Cup warm-up victory

AFP, Johannesburg :Egypt superstar Mohamed Salah came off the bench but did not score as the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations hosts defeated fellow qualifiers Guinea 3-1 Sunday in a

Arsenal refusing to sell AC Milan target Lucas Torreira

Arsenal refusing to sell AC Milan target Lucas Torreira

Arsenal are refusing to sell midfielder Lucas Torreira amid interest from AC Milan, according to Sky in Italy.With Marco Giampaolo set to move from Sampdoria to the San Siro as

David double as Canada rout Martinique

David double as Canada rout Martinique

AFP, Los Angeles :Canada kicked off the CONCACAF Gold Cup with an emphatic win over Martinique on Saturday, outclassing the Caribbean minnows 4-0 at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in California.Two

Messi 'bitter' as Colombia stun Argentina

Messi 'bitter' as Colombia stun Argentina

AFP, Salvador :Lionel Messi said his team was feeling bitter after Argentina lost their opening Copa America match 2-0 to Colombia despite dominating the second half.Goals from Roger Martinez and

Coutinho brace helps Brazil forget Neymar in winning Copa start

Coutinho brace helps Brazil forget Neymar in winning Copa start

AFP, Sao Paulo :A brace from Philippe Coutinho handed hosts Brazil a winning start to the Copa America on Friday in a 3-0 victory over Bolivia as the absence of

Sunday's hat-trick helps Dhaka Abahani beat Rahmatganj 5-2

A brilliant hat-trick by Nigerian booter Sunday Chizoba enabled defending champions Dhaka Abahani Ltd to pile up another impressive 5-2 goals victory over Rahmatganj MFS in the 13-team Bangladesh Premier

Juventus move ends Sarri's unhappy marriage with Chelsea

Juventus move ends Sarri's unhappy marriage with Chelsea

Agency :Maurizio Sarri is set to return to Italy to take the vacant managerial role at Juventus and bring the curtain down on a fretful one-year stay at Chelsea.Sarri

'Japanese Messi' Kubo set for Real Madrid move

'Japanese Messi' Kubo set for Real Madrid move

AFP, Tokyo :Teenage sensation Takefusa Kubo is poised to be snapped up by Spanish giants Real Madrid, Japanese media reported on Friday.The FC Tokyo forward, who recently made his