Shared World Cup is crazy says UAE soccer chief

Yousuf Al Serkal laughs off notion of UAE hosting games at Qatar 2022 World Cup

Michel Platini's idea that Qatar share the 2022 World Cup hosting rights with its Middle East neighbours was "crazy", UAE soccer chief Yousuf Al Serkal told Reuters on Thursday.

UEFA president Platini has long called for soccer's showpiece to be shared by the tiny Arab state and that the tournament should be moved to the end of the year to avoid the soaring temperature in June and July.

The Frenchman, tipped to succeed FIFA head Sepp Blatter, reiterated his stance on Saturday but Al Serkal, who is chasing the presidency of the Asian Football Confederation at their May elections, found the suggestion humorous.

"It is a crazy idea," Al Serkal said after breaking into a laugh. "First of all this cannot happen. The FIFA executive committee has already taken a decision and awarded the 2022 World Cup to the Qataris.

"We support Qatar to host the World Cup independently and we are not interested in any sharing.

"On the contrary, we have put ourselves at the disposal of the Qataris for any support they might require, be it logistically or whatever."

Al Serkal, also a vice-president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), said he was a fan of the introduction of goalline technology, another issue which Platini staunchly opposes.

"I think it is a good idea. I had attended a FA board meeting in England and FIFA had explained the whole idea behind the technology and I am definitely a supporter," he said in the telephone interview. "It's a good thing."

Al Serkal was in Jordan on Wednesday at a meeting with the West Asian Football Federation where he was seeking to sure up votes among the 12 other member associations in the region ahead of the AFC vote on May 2.

He is up against Bahrain's Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, Saudi Arabia official Hafez Ibrahim Al Medlej and Thailand's Worawi Makudi.

The AFC has been without a permanent president since Qatari Mohamed Bin Hammam was banned for life by FIFA for corruption and bribery with China's Zhang Jilong holding the role of acting president for almost two years.

FIFA executive committee member Worawi already has the backing of the 12 votes from Southeast Asia federation and appears well on his way to claiming the necessary majority from the AFC's 47 member associations. His hand helped by the split in the West Asian vote.

Negotiations to try and settle on a single candidate from West Asia failed at the Amman meeting, which Bahrain's Al Khalifa missed, with further discussions planned next month.

Al Serkal virtually ruled out the possibility of a consensus candidate.

"There is a good chance that there will be an understanding between me and Al Medlej. We will continue an open-minded dialogue between us," Al Serkal added.

"But at this moment it is unlikely that there will be any agreement between us and Sheikh Salman," he said of the Bahraini who is part of the ruling family which is trying to contain continued violent unrest and political turmoil in his homeland.

Al Khalifa is also in the running for a seat on FIFA's executive committee along with Hassan Al Thawadi from Qatar. The Bahraini narrowly failed to take Bin Hammam's FIFA executive committee seat in an ugly battle in 2009.

"Choosing between Sheikh Salman and Al Thawadi I will definitely back the Qatari," Al Serkal said.

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Posted by: Billy

Sharing the world cup amongst the GCC is a really stupid idea and I note it is only people from outside of Qatar that are pushing this idea. Can you imagine the logistics and visa headaches of England or Germany or Brazil for example playing one game in Qatar and then the next game in Saudi and a third game in Kuwait? It is simply ridiculous and why should these football fans be forced to pay all these extra costs of travel and accommodation just so other GCC countries jealous of Qatars success can steal some of the glory. This is Qatars deal.....they have been awarded the world cup alone and other GCC countries should be proud of their achievement - not try to steal some of the action that they have put in zero effort for.

Posted by: Rashed

By 2022, the Arabian Gulf nations will be a formidable economic and political power to reckon with. The infrastructure for the world cup is already in place, all that is needed is some revamping and refurbishing here and there. All the best to the Arabian Gulf countries for hosting the world cup 2022 which will generate thousands of jobs and be an additional boost to the already strong economies that are playing a major positive role in the faltering global economy.

Posted by: Telcoguy

@Qatari, it may shock you but some people's jobs involve more than showing up to collect the pay check. They may even require knowledge, skill and qualifications. Shocking news, I know

And out of curiosity, yes I know an astronaut (not hard to guess, we only have one in Spain). He was a student in one short course on functional programming I helped to prepare long, long time ago in my engineering school. That was before his first mission though maybe it does not qualify for you

Funny, I had almost totally forgotten

Posted by: Qatari

@James, Ya sure, online you could be an astronaut, in real life your a just a person who can do the same amount a local can do for much less.

Posted by: James

@ Qatari - Then, sadly, your facts are incorrect. I know for a fact there are no locals qualified to do what I do. I know this as the professional body which sanctions my profession have no GCC nationals registered :)

I have no doubt a local could do it quite well though, with the proper training.

Posted by: Qatari

@James, Fact.

Posted by: James

@Qatari, is this an opinion or fact? we need facts here, keep opinions to yourself.

Posted by: manimu

It will definatelty be to unite the arab countries and their internal divisions.
Sports and specially football bring passion for the nations together.

Posted by: Basem

The World Cup 2022 will hopefully be shared by all Arabian Gulf nations as one body and one entity.

Posted by: John

whats the point of bringing politics again into the formula said earlier the person responsible for arabian business news letter is anti Bahraini for sure.

"But at this moment it is unlikely that there will be any agreement between us and Sheikh Salman," he said of the Bahraini who is part of the ruling family which is trying to contain continued violent unrest and political turmoil in his homeland."

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