PARIS — Qatar's neighboring countries could host games at the 2022 World Cup, according to FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
Qatar was designated the 2022 World Cup last week, despite concerns the intense heat poses a serious health risk if the tournament is played in summer.
In an interview with sports daily L'Equipe on Thursday, Blatter said Australia's 2022 World Cup bid proposed some matches could be held in New Zealand, and Qatar could have neighboring countries host games. He didn't say which countries.
"Australia, in its candidacy bid, proposed to give several matches to New Zealand," Blatter told L'Equipe. "I think it could be the same in Qatar and that some matches could take place in nearby countries."
Blatter reiterated that FIFA was right to award Qatar the World Cup because soccer needs to expand from its traditional strongholds.
"With Qatar, we are opening football to a new world and a new culture," Blatter said. "The Arab world, which has tried several times — with Morocco or Egypt for example — to host the World Cup, could legitimately lay claim to hosting this."