England 'can host 2022 World Cup', says Culture Secretary John Whittingdale

Should Qatar be stripped of tournament, England could step in claims Conservative Minister

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The Independent Online

England can host the World Cup in 2022, should Qatar be stripped of the tournament, says Culture John Whittingdale.

There are growing calls for the bidding process for the 2022 tournament to be re-run in the wake of serious allegations of corruption and bribery in relation to the awarding of the next two World Cups.

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Mr Whittingdale said the country has the facilities and mounted an impressive, if unsuccessful, bid to host the 2018 World Cup, and so could host the 2022 event if asked by Fifa.

He spoke as MPs asked whether England could step in to host the World Cup if allegations that the bid process for the Qatar tournament was corrupt are found to be true.

Mr Whittingdale joined Football Association chairman Greg Dyke, who said earlier this week that England would probably not bid for the 2022 tournament, on the basis that Russia remain hosts in 2018 and that it shouldn't be held consecutively in Europe.

During culture questions in the Commons, Mr Whittingdale said: "In terms of the decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, that is obviously something which we are watching, but at the moment that decision stands.

"If it were decided to change that, I think as the chairman of the English FA observed, if Russia hosts the World Cup in 2018 it does seem very unlikely that another European country would host it in 2022.

"But obviously if FIFA came forward and asked us to consider hosting it, we have the facilities in this country and of course we did mount a very impressive, if unsuccessful bid to host the 2018 World Cup."