A FIFA feasibility study concluded that the 2022 World Cup could be extended to 48 teams by using at least one of Qatar's neighbors as an additional host and noticed a significant change in format more than eight years after Qatar's hosting rights and a additional $ 400 million in revenue can be generated.
received a copy of the 81-page report on Monday assessing the political, logistical and legal aspects of adding 16 teams – a major change in format more than eight years after Qatar's hosting rights had won. The report has been prepared by the governing body so that the FIFA council can in principle agree on expanding the tournament during a meeting in Miami on Friday. A final decision would come in June.
Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates broke economic, diplomatic and travel relations with Qatar in 2017, preventing flights between countries. The study says FIFA accepts that the ongoing political tensions prevent their involvement in the tournament. The AP reported that last week FIFA looked at Kuwait and Oman as options for games in 2022, given their neutrality in the Gulf diplomatic crisis.
"As it stands, the nature of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and UAE's relations with Qatar is such that it would be a challenge to organize a jointly hosted tournament between Qatar and one or more of these countries, "states the feasibility study.
"Candidate co-hosts must be considered as sufficiently cooperative," the study adds. "Such co-hosts would not sanction or boycott any economic potential or otherwise any other potential co-host country, including the lead guest, Qatar."
With logistics already challenged by the existing plan to play 64 games in eight stadiums spread over a 30-mile radius in Qatar, FIFA said that two to four additional locations are needed in the region "with one or more" nations .
FIFA stipulates that any additional hosts must provide government guarantees, including on human rights requirements.
"The involvement of additional neighboring host countries requires that certain conditions are met, in particular the consent of the relevant authorities in the main host country, Qatar," states the FIFA report. "That is why FIFA cannot definitively determine which host countries are currently part of a co-hosting arrangement with FIFA and Qatar."
The study emphasizes that sites with at least 40,000 seats – for matches up to the quarterfinals – were required from 2026 World Cup bidders, but that no conclusion is drawn about the minimum capacities for 2022. Although eight possible additional stadiums are identified in the region in the FIFA study, only two in the UAE, one in Saudi Arabia and one in Kuwait meet the 2026 requirements.