Qatar 2022 gets Asian football body's backing

Asian Football Confederation calls Gulf "a true football region" amid pressure on FIFA to remove Qatar as hosts.

    Qatar was cleared of any wrongdoing in the Garcia report, according to FIFA [Reuters]
    Qatar was cleared of any wrongdoing in the Garcia report, according to FIFA [Reuters]

    The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has thrown its weight behind Qatar for the 2022 World Cup despite mounting pressure on FIFA to remove the Gulf state as hosts.

    It was revealed on Wednesday that the the FBI's investigation surrounding FIFA had expanded to include the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

    The English Football Association chief Greg Dyke, among others, had raised the possibility that the vote awarding Qatar the tournament could be re-run.

    The Gulf is a true football region, with some of the world's most passionate football lovers, and Qatar is no exception

    Asian Football Confederation,

    In response, Qatar's foreign minister said he was confident the World Cup would not be taken away from the country.

    On Thursday, Qatar gathered up more support in the form of AFC which reiterated "its support for the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar".

    "Football is the world's game that should set itself no geographical borders," the AFC said in a statement.

    "The Gulf is a true football region, with some of the world's most passionate football lovers, and Qatar is no exception.

    "Qatar 2022 will be the first time the West Asian region will have had a chance to show this passion to the world, during what will be only the second FIFA World Cup to be held in Asia.

    "The AFC and the whole Asian football community stands with Qatar and we all look forward to hosting the World Cup, and welcoming the world."

    Qatar and Russia have repeatedly denied all wrongdoing in the conduct of their bids.

    Despite the AFC stance, current Asian champions Australia released a statement earlier, saying they were still bitter about losing the vote in 2010.

    "We ran a clean bid, I know that others did not, and I have shared what I know with the authorities," Frank Lowy, Football Federation of Australia chairman, said.

    Australia's national police are evaluating the country's failed bid while politicians have said the country would be ready to step in and host the World Cup in 2022 if it was taken away from Qatar.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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