x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

UAE will back Qatar as sole World Cup host over Michel Platini's plan

UAE FA chief Yousuf Al Serkal reiterated support for Qatar as the sole host of the 2022 World Cup.

epa03603342 UEFA President Michel Platini speaks during the UEFA President's Award ceremony in Munich, Germany, 27 February 2013. EPA/LENNART PREISS - POOL *** Local Caption *** 03603342.jpg
epa03603342 UEFA President Michel Platini speaks during the UEFA President's Award ceremony in Munich, Germany, 27 February 2013. EPA/LENNART PREISS - POOL *** Local Caption *** 03603342.jpg

ABU DHABI // The UAE FA has reiterated its support for Qatar as the sole host of the 2022 World Cup, dismissing a recent suggestion by Michel Platini, the Uefa president, that the global tournament should not only be held in the winter, but also co-hosted across the region.

"We, as the UAE, respect the decision that was taken in favour of Qatar," Yousuf Al Serkal, the FA chief, told The National.

"We have a good connection with the Qataris, and we don't want to interfere in any sort of announcement like this.

"I don't know what's behind this announcement. We would like to stay out of it. It's not for us to decide. This decision has already been taken by the Fifa ex-co [executive committee] and we support Qatar in their hosting of the World Cup."

Until now the main concern about that event has been its timing and how feasible it is to schedule it for the summer.

Spreading it across the region has never been a serious discussion point. But Platini said that he approved the decision with two provisos: one that it would take place in winter and also on the condition that it would not be solely in Qatar.

"Because of the heat, the World Cup must be played in the winter," Platini said.

"When it's more than 40° Celsius [104° Fahrenheit], you can't really play football, and it would be pretty tough for the fans to bear.

"Also, the neighbouring emirates must be incorporated so that the World Cup takes place in the entire region."

Asked what the UAE response would be if Qatar initiated such a move, Al Serkal said that was a decision that would go beyond the UAE Football Association.

"We have a good relationship with Qatar," he reiterated. "We cooperate in many different aspects, not only in sports but many different aspects.

"If Qatar considers to ask anything, it is between Qatar and the UAE. It is not for me to say anything about it."

 

osamiuddin@thenational.ae

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