World Cup games in other Gulf states sought
Manama, December 14, 2010
Bahrain and other Gulf countries should be hosting games as part of the 2022 football World Cup in Qatar, said Prince Ali of Jordan.
He said Qatar's neighbours should be allowed to stage some of the matches, following concerns about its ability to host the mammoth sporting event.
The 34-year-old, who is attempting to become the youngest member of FIFA's executive committee, said he supported calls to move the 2022 tournament to the cooler month of January to allow matches to be played in Bahrain, the UAE and possibly Saudi Arabia.
'I think they have to incorporate the people of the region,' he told the Australian Associated Press.
'Also, in terms of capacity they will have to reach out to some of the neighbouring countries to help with people coming from outside who want to experience this event.'
However, he stressed that Qatar had as much right as anyone to host the tournament.
'I think (Qatar) invested a lot in this and it looked like they had a good chance,' he said.
'I do believe every single FIFA national association should have the right to host the World Cup, regardless of size, if they have the means and capabilities to do so.'
But he added that he understood concerns expressed by England and other nations at FIFA's decision to award the tournament to the Middle East for the first time - particularly during summer when temperatures can reach 50C.
'I am sure there are concerns, but what has been done has been done and now what we have to do is make sure it (the World Cup) is a success,' added Prince Ali during his tour of Asia and Oceania.
His words will carry even more weight if he succeeds South Korea's Dr Chung Mong-joon on FIFA's executive committee.
If he makes it onto football's elite body he hopes to help restore FIFA's image, which has been tarnished by perceptions of corruption.
'At the moment I am looking from the outside, as is everyone else,' he said. 'But I do believe people like myself need to get into this organisation because we have reputations and backgrounds that hopefully will help ensure that if there are these issues there will be less and less of it.
'We have to bring back the reputation of this organisation to where it should be.
'That's why I want to get in there. We want people who you know for sure will not be part of issues like that.'
Prince Ali also said he did not want FIFA decisions to be made behind closed doors.
'The next four years are crucial for FIFA in light of everything that has gone on,' he said.
During a visit to Bahrain on Saturday, FIFA president Sepp Blatter clarified comments he previously made about Qatar's neighbours possibly hosting some of the games at the 2022 World Cup.
'For the time being, these are all only suggestions, ideas,' he said.
'The 2022 World Cup will be played in the territory of Qatar and in the months of June or July. Everything else is just like a player dribbling around.' – TradeArabia News Service