FIFA president says Qatar's Gulf neighbors could co-host 2022 World Cup

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FIFA president Gianna Infantino has admitted that 2022 World Cup host Qatar may actually co-host the tournament with neighboring countries near the Persian Gulf, including Saudi Arabia. According to Reuters, FIFA has explored the possibility of an additional host to the summer tournament for several matches. 

At a conference in Dubai, Infantino also said that they are also exploring the possibility of 48 teams playing in the tournament. 

"If we can accommodate some of the neighboring countries in the Gulf region which are very close by to host a few games in the World Cup this could be very beneficial for the region and the entire world," Infantino said. 

"There are tensions in this particular region and it's up to their respective leaders to deal with that but maybe it's easier to talk about a joint football project than more complicated things."

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar in June of 2017 under accusations of "supporting regional terror groups." It's unclear whether other countries will be fully recognized as a co-hosts or simply as hosting a few matches if this moves forward after a feasibility study is completed. The last men's World Cup to be played in multiple host nations was in 2002 when Japan and South Korea hosted. The 2026 World Cup was recently awarded to a joint bid by the United States, Mexico and Canada.

If the tournament does expand to 48 teams, with a decision coming by the spring, then FIFA may feel more obligated in finding a co-host or two. Qatar is smaller than the size of Connecticut and bigger than only Delaware and Rhode Island when it comes to square mileage. 

You can watch World Cup qualifying for 2022 on fuboTV (Try for free).

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Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Full Bio

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