Fifa rules out expanding Qatar World Cup to 48 teams

(AFP/File photo)
Updated 22 May 2019

Fifa rules out expanding Qatar World Cup to 48 teams

  • Potential logistical impact on the host country among the reasons given for keeping the competition to 32 teams

LAUSANNE: The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be played with 32 teams after a proposed expansion of the tournament to 48 sides was scrapped, FIFA announced on Wednesday.
World football’s governing body said in a statement that “following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process with the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders, it was concluded that under the current circumstances such a proposal could not be made now.”
“(The tournament) will therefore remain as originally planned with 32 teams and no proposal will be submitted at the next FIFA Congress on 5 June,” FIFA added.
An announcement of the final decision hadn’t been expected until the congress, which is being held in Paris ahead of the Women’s World Cup.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino had supported the increase in the size of the tournament.
However the statement said that the study “concluded that due to the advanced stage of preparations and the need for a detailed assessment of the potential logistical impact on the host country, more time would be required and a decision could not be taken before the deadline of June.”
That led to FIFA dropping the idea, despite the organization recommending in March that the number of teams should be raised to 48 for 2022, ahead of the planned 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Expanding the competition for the 2022 tournament was always a complicated proposition. FIFA had sounded out potential co-hosts in the region willing to support Qatar, a complicated proposition for Doha which is subject to an ongoing embargo by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and their allies.
Last week Hassan Al-Thawadi, the secretary general of Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, said that a feasibility study jointly carried out by FIFA and Qatar would favor “expansion to other countries.”
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut all ties with Doha in June 2017, accusing Qatar of supporting extremist groups and Iran.


Saudi driver Reema Juffali makes history as first woman to compete in Saudi Arabia

Updated 22 November 2019

Saudi driver Reema Juffali makes history as first woman to compete in Saudi Arabia

  • Juffali is VIP driver in the Jaguar I-PACE e-TROPHY
  • Ahead of the race she said: “I am very excited"

RIYADH: Reema Juffali made history on Friday by becoming the first Saudi Arabian female racer to drive competitively in the Kingdom.

As the VIP driver in the Jaguar I-PACE e-TROPHY, Reema took to the track at the Diriyah Circuit in the official qualifying round on Friday morning ahead of her first race later in the day.

She completed her fastest lap of the demanding track created in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage site in 1 min 39 seconds, a little over 5 second behind the pole position.

She will go into the official championship race at the back of the grid, but that takes nothing away from the moment for the young driver from Jeddah.

Ahead of the race she said: “I am very excited, I never thought this day would come, or at least I didn’t know when and it came a lot sooner than expected. I’m a year into racing and here I am now about to race at home which is an incredible feeling.”

The Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY series is the official support race the SAUDIA Diriyah E-Prix the opening double header for the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.