Here’s what’s happened since last week’s updates: Qatar is witnessing a major economic transformation: Saudi Crown Prince
FIFA is considering to expand the Qatar 2022 World Cup from 32 teams to 48 with an aim to solve the bitter diplomatic relations between host Qatar and a Saudi Arabian-led coalition. Gianni Infantino, the FIFA president, has said that such an expansion is “possible” and “feasible”.
Gianni Infantino believes that such an initiative could help rebonding the Gulf region. As he says the World Cup should expand from 32 to 48 teams by playing some of the matches in stadiums in the very nations who have cut ties with Qatar and closed borders which include land, air and sea passage.
Qatar will have eight stadiums to host 64 games, however, adding 16 more nations would mean total 80 games which would require more stadiums.
It is worth noting that FIFA membership has already voted for expansion for the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Infantino asked the Emir of Qatar if he would consider such an expansion for the 2022 world cup as well, allowing matches to be held in other Gulf nations, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
"We have decided as well to increase the number of teams participating in the World Cup final tournaments, from 32 to 48. This will happen in 2026. Will it happen already in 2022? We are looking into it. If it is possible, why not?", said Infantino, speaking at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Congress in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.
"This is something that would probably be a nice message," Infantino said.
“You will have a bigger chance,” he said. “It is possible... It is feasible. We are discussing with our Qatari friends. We are discussing with many other friends in the region. We hope we have it happen. We always have to try.”
Qatar is still anticipating for a proper discussion process to commence. Deputy secretary general at Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, Nasser Al Khater said:
"Right now, as of today, we're hosting a 32 team World Cup," Al Khater said. "Our infrastructure, our stadiums are all based on the 32-team World Cup. That's as much as we know and that's as much as it's confirmed by now."
Al Khater further stated that they need to know about the changes soon. However, Al Khater leaves another option saying that:
“Can we do it with eight stadiums and increasing the number of days?"
Infantino believes that the number of finalists will be resolved by the next March. If new conditions are added to the 2022 schedule, a bidding process for the extra tournaments might be required.
What are your thoughts on these latest developments in the ongoing GCC Crisis? Drop us a line and tell us your thoughts in the comments below, and don’t forget to like and share this article - it keeps us going!
(Cover photo source: https://sputniknews.com)
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