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World 2022

FIFA clashes with diplomacy for a World Cup of 48 in Qatar

FIFA President Gianni Infantino poses in the field

RAFA APARICIO

DIARIO AS

The internal report points out that Qatar's poor relations with its neighbors make it difficult for Infantino to increase the number of participants for the 2022 World Cup.

Estados Unidos

FIFA already has the report that evaluates the possibility of going from 32 to 48 teams in 2022 Qatar World Cup, which according to Associated Press the increase of participants' set for the 2026 World Cup that will take place In Mexico, the United States and Canada. But Gianni Infantino announced his intention to move it for the next World Cup if he has the chance.

The report commissioned by FIFA points out that Qatar's diplomatic relations with neighboring countries are a huge problem for the expansion, as his collaboration is essential to add 16 teams to the tournament.

To play 64 games in eight stadiums and only five cities is already a great challenge for Qatar and FIFA because in Russia the tournament was performed in 12 different stadiums and 11 cities, or the Eurocup in France took place in ten stadiums and cities.

For the World Cup to be played by 48 teams at least two more stadiums would be necessary (ideally would be four) to reach the ten venues and to add the collaboration of another state, but there are only four more stadiums in the region, apart from the ones in Qatar, that meet the conditions.

Impediments

And this is where we find the first obstacle since Qatar's relations with the Emirates and Saudi Arabia are not in good terms. Both (besides Bahrain) broke economic and diplomatic relations, which makes it difficult to travel from them to Qatar as their airlines suspended their flights. The report states that "in its current state, the nature of relations between Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with Qatar is such that it would be a challenge to co-organize a tournament between Qatar and one or more of these countries."

Another problem is that it would be obligatory that, should it be possible for one of these non-related countries to agree to collaborate in the organization of the World Cup, it would necessarily have to have the approval of the Qatari state.

Other setback pointed out by the report, although of lesser importance, are changes in the stadiums as the ones in Qatar are very close to each other. Three are in Rayán, two in Doha, one in Losail, another in Al Wakrah and the last in Jor. The most distant ones are Jor and Al Wakrah which are just over 70 kilometers away, meaning that flights won't be necessary, this would have to change if you add another country and at least two more venues to the equation.