Pandas sent by China arrive in Qatar ahead of World Cup
Doha, Nov 28 – Qatar has been selected as host for the 2022 World Cup after the United Arab Emirates withdrew from bidding on Friday following a dispute with China.
The country, together with five other countries, is vying to host the tournament in the second-largest Arab economy following FIFA earlier this month.
The decision has come after Qatar’s bid was disqualified from the FIFA executive committee that had awarded the 2026 tournament to Russia, which it finished second in this year’s vote.
President of the Asian Football Confederation Sonny sapinda has called on the UAE to return the Qatar bid documents and abide by the decisions of the FIFA executive committee.
He told Gulf News: “The decision by the executive committee has been taken in the best interest of FIFA but we don’t like to see the country go through the hard experience of the disqualification.”
The bid for the World Cup was launched in 2011 but the process has been overshadowed by controversy and legal battles.
The bidding process was also fraught with problems with Qatar’s 2022 hosting rights being awarded to Russia in what many believe was politically motivated.
Russia, which had been seeking Qatar’s hosting rights since 2006, ended its involvement after Qatar’s bid gained insufficient support.
Qatar won the rights to host the 2026 tournament but the country’s bid was disqualified from the FIFA executive committee because of a conflict in the bidding documents.
At a meeting on Monday, FIFA’s executive committee declared that Qatar withdrew from the bidding process because of non-compliance with FIFA rules, which meant that Russia took its place as the host.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said that the Russian federation was ready to host the tournament.
“We are ready to host this football festival in Russia,” said Medvedev.
The Russian federation is expected to announce a decision on the hosting in March.
Qatar’s announcement to step down from the bidding process, which was expected to be made in September, came after China accused the country of “trying to hijack” its bid to the World Cup in 2022.
“A country in Asia that can compete