Sepp Blatter has admitted he is open to the possibility of staging the 2022 World Cup in more than one Gulf nation after revealing several countries had offered to co-host the tournament with Qatar.
With a formal decision still to be made over whether it will be staged in the winter, Blatter also indicated that his preference is to start it in November or December rather than January or February.
Asked about the prospect of matches in the tournament being played elsewhere, he 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. The UAE would also be very eager but let’s go step by step. The first step is to see how it can be played in November-December and this shall be until the next World Cup: we have six, nine months to do so.”
Blatter’s comments came before he watched Nigeria beat Meixco in last night’s Under-17 World Cup final in Abu Dhabi and 24 hours before he travels to Doha to meet the Emir of Qatar to discuss the scandal over the alleged mistreatment of foreign workers building the infrastructure necessary for the country to host the World Cup.