Qatar on Sunday unveiled plans to host the 2022 football World Cup, saying that hosting the tournament in the region would promote understanding between the Arab and western worlds.
“Qatar 2022 is a bid on behalf of the whole region,” Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, ruler of the country and president of the Qatar 2022 committee, said in a statement.
The event offers “an opportunity for greater understanding and unity between the Arab and western worlds”., he said.
Qatar has previously hosted the 2006 Asian Games. The oil-rich nation will host the Asian Cup in 2011.
“We are serious about winning the right to host the FIFA World Cup in the Arab World for the first time,” he said.
Qatar and South Korea are so far the only nations to bid exclusively for the 2022 World Cup. There are nine countries bidding for either the 2018 or 2022 tournaments.
FIFA, football’s world governing body, said the other nine contenders are Japan, Mexico, the United States, England and Russia and, as joint bidders, Spain and Portugal, and Belgium and the Netherlands.