Manama: Kuwait will not be able to co-host the 2022 World Cup finals with Qatar due to several restrictions, the head of the Kuwait Football Association (KFA) has said.
On Wednesday, Fifa President Gianni Infantino used his speech at Dubai Sports Conference to reiterate his appeal to the ‘big wisdom and heart’ of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders to share the 2022 World Cup beyond Qatar’s borders and make it a 48-team tournament.
Fifa had unanimously agreed to expand the World Cup finals from 32 teams to 48 in the 2026 tournament to be shared by USA, Canada and Mexico, but Infantino wants to start the increased format four years earlier.
However, having the 48 teams in Qatar “will be quite a challenge, to say it diplomatically, and if we can maybe convince neighbouring countries in the Gulf region, who are very close by, to maybe host a few games, this could certainly be very beneficial to the region and the entire world,” he said.
The GCC comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Kuwait has reportedly ruled out the possibility to host some of the matches.
The conditions for hosting or participating in hosting some of the World Cup matches cannot be applied to Kuwait, KFA President Shaikh Ahmad Yussef said.
“It is difficult to apply some of the major Fifa conditions in Kuwait, most notably allowing all nationalities ... to enter the country or to issue visas upon arrival. Fifa rules prohibit banning the entry of any nationality, whether they are members of the teams or fans,” he said, quoted by Kuwaiti daily Al Rai on Thursday.
“Even if we selected the teams that could play in Kuwait to avoid such issues, we would not be able to ban fans regardless of their citizenship.
“Hosting or co-hosting the World Cup finals is a historic event and all the countries, including Kuwait, are keen on it, but there are obstacles that cannot be handled.”
Another major requirement is resolving the problem of advertising in stadiums, especially that some ads cannot be authorised under Kuwaiti laws.