FIFA president Sepp Blatter has hinted that other countries in the Gulf region, as well as Iran, could host matches as part of the 2022 World Cup finals being held in Qatar.
Blatter said in comments published by PA Sport that he was “sure” that the prospect of the likes of Iran and the UAE staging matches would be considered by FIFA.
Speaking in Abu Dhabi prior to the Under-17 World Cup final, Blatter said: “I keep a big question mark on this. I have just passed through Iran and, even on a political level, people told me they would be happy to host some of the matches.
“So not even in the Gulf state but in the Middle East in general people care about this. The UAE would also be very eager, but let’s go step by step.”
Blatter is due to travel to Doha this weekend to meet the new Emir of Qatar and discuss the country’s moves to improve working conditions after an investigation revealed dozens of Nepalese workers have died in Qatar this year.
Qatar’s supreme committee has written to FIFA outlining its commitment to tackle the abuses, PA Sport reported.
“I want to avoid all of this criticism concerning workers’ rights, but this is another problem,” Blatter said, in quotes reported in various newspapers.
“To have the finals in different countries is not a new fact and I am sure it is something on the table at a certain time.”