Iran Could Help Qatar to Deliver A Sustainable 2022 FIFA World Cup
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Qatar will face a difficult task in term of expanding the 2022 World Cup to 48 teams but Iran could help its southern neighbor to host the prestigious event far better than the world’s expectations.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has recently said a majority of national soccer federations are in favor of expanding the competition to 48 teams, however the Qatari officials have yet to accept the offer with four years remaining to the event.
Infantino said a decision would be made by March, although it was still not clear whether an enlarged tournament would be feasible as it would be "difficult" to stage in Qatar alone.
Qatar has been locked in a bitter dispute with its neighbors Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, that has complicated the prospect of sharing matches in an expanded tournament, however the Arabian Peninsula country has a good relationship with Iran.
Nasser al-Khater, deputy-secretary general of the World Cup organizing committee, has told The Associated Press they have not held talks with any other countries to share football matches at the 2022 World Cup.
Those countries, as well as Egypt, began a diplomatic and trade boycott of Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Qatar denies the claims.
Regardless of the tournament’s size, finding a place to sleep will be at a premium. Qatar has some 25,000 hotel rooms, according to government statistics.
FIFA required Qatar to have at least 60,000 rooms by 2022. There are plans to make as many as 6,000 rooms on cruise ships available while also opening up any unused dwellings in Doha for rent before play kicks off on Nov. 21, 2022.
Qatar Airways have two weekly flights to the existing Doha-Tehran route and add three weekly flights on their Shiraz service in January.
The state-owned airline can also launch flights to Isfahan, Kish and Tabriz as well and it will be a good opportunity for the fans to travel to the Iranian cities as a tourist and wait for their team’s next match. Indeed, they will kill two birds with one stone.
Qatar has forged closer economic ties with Iran since June 2017 when neighbors Saudi Arabia and the UAE cut political and economic ties with Doha.
It will also be a good opportunity for Iran to cement the relationship even further with Qatar by helping the country to deliver a sustainable and inclusive 2022 FIFA World Cup tournament.
Report by Alireza Moharrami