FIFA president Sepp Blatter says the UAE has offered to help stage the 2022 World Cup and that the tournament could yet be spread around the Gulf.
Blatter is in Abu Dhabi for Friday’s Under-17 World Cup final where he admitted several countries had volunteered to help Qatar share hosting duties in nine years’ time.
The Swiss refused to rule the idea out and said it is something that will be discussed once exact dates for the tournament have been set.
Blatter wants it moved to winter and said he soon hopes to finalise plans for a November/December edition of a showpiece traditionally held in the summer.
Asked if a Gulf-wide tournament was on the agenda, Blatter said: “This is a question I keep a big question mark behind.
“I passed through Iran and even on a political level they said they would be happy to host some of the matches. Not only the Gulf states, but also Iran.
“This is a matter for UAE as well, they are very eager. But we need to take this step by step. We have up until 2022 to make a decision, nine years.
“The first step is how it can be made in winter, November or December. This will be discussed up until the next world cup.
“To spread it to other countries isn't a new point. It's an interesting one.
“I just talked with your (the UAE) sports minister at noon for lunch. They are eager to organise other international competitions.
"They have had the Under-20 World Cup and now the Under-17 World Cup, they are also keen to host a women’s tournament here.”
The future of the Qatar World Cup remains uncertain with FIFA currently looking at switching the tournament to winter because of extreme heat in the summer months.
After today’s visit to Abu Dhabi, Blatter is set to go on to Doha to meet with the Local Organising Committee.
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