Last Updated: Thu Dec 09, 2010 20:31 pm (KSA) 17:31 pm (GMT)

Qatar neighbors can host some WCup matches: Blatter


Some of the World Cup 2022 matches could be played in some countries neighboring Qatar, FIFA President Sepp Blatter was quoted as saying by a French newspaper on Thursday.

"I think that some matches can be played in Qatar's neighboring states," he told France's L'Equipe.

"With Qatar, we are opening a new door in front of football. The Arab world, that have tried several times through Morocco and Egypt, has the right to host and organize the World Cup. Besides there are one billion Muslim worldwide," added Blatter.

FIFA chief added that Qatar was "developing" and that it has "12 years to get ready for the big host."

FIFA broke new grounds by sending the World Cup to Eastern Europe and Middle East for the first time, with Russia to host the 2018 games followed by Qatar.

While defending FIFA's system of choosing World Cup hosts, Blatter said: "If we wanted to gain money, we could have chosen the United States instead of Qatar. Choosing Qatar might have been a surprise, but we shouldn't forget that they are exerting big efforts and they have organized several competitions under the FIFA flag."

FIFA's ethics court suspended two of Blatter's executive committee colleagues from taking part in last Thursday's votes after a British newspaper alleged bribe-taking and vote-rigging.

U.S. President Barack Obama responded after the big announcement and said FIFA had erred in awarding the 2022 World Cup soccer finals to Qatar and not the United States.

"I think it was the wrong decision," Obama told reporters when asked about the World Cup decision.

Qatar's win came despite serious reservations being raised about the logistical problems of staging the football tournament in the Gulf during the searing heat of the summer months.

Although the Qataris have promised to build an array of state of the art stadia which are climate-controlled, the technology has never been tested on a large-scale before.

(Compiled and translated from Arabic by Abeer Tayel)

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