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Tue 27 Jan 2009 07:58 AM

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Qatar confirms bid to host football World Cup 2018

Doha is hosting the 2011 Asian Cup and constructing the first underground stadium.

Qatar has confirmed its intention to bid to host the football World Cup in 2018, it was reported on Monday.

To date no Arab country has hosted the football event, which will draw thousands of international football fans to the Gulf state, as well as being televised worldwide.

Qatar Football Federation secretary general Saud Al Muhanadi said: “I can confirm that the Qatar Football Federation has today sent a letter to FIFA in which it officially declared its candidacy for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.”

FIFA started reception of bids for the right to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups earlier this month and all the interested federations will have must make their bids before Feb. 2.

If Qatar fails to win the 2018 bid it will re-apply to host the event in 2022, Al Muhanadi added, in a report in Qatar daily The Peninsular.

Doha is already hosting the 2011 Asian Cup for which it is planning to construct the first-ever underground football stadium.

Other countries who have officially bid are England, which last stages the event in 1966, plus joint bias by Spain and Portugal, and Belgium and the Netherlands.

Other interested countries, according to FIFA, are Japan, China, Mexico, the US, Russia, Australia and Canada. The US staged the event in 1994 when Brazil beat Italy in the final.

FIFA, football’s world governing body, will name the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in December 2010 – when South Africa is holding the event.

Gas-rich Qatar failed in its bid to host the 2016 Olympics but successfully hosted the 2006 Asian Games, the region’s largest multi sports gathering involving more than 10,000 athletes and officials.

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