Qatar May Have Iran Host Teams During 2022 World Cup Soccer Competition
Qatar is fielding offers from numerous countries to host soccer teams during the 2022 World Cup, with Iran reportedly considered the front-runner. Doha has concluded that it is too small to accommodate a potentially-expanded field of 48 squads along with the millions of fans expected to descend on the oil-rich Gulf nation in four years’ time. Any move to include Tehran in the planning could lead to serious blowback from United States President Donald Trump, who in May withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and subsequently re-imposed sanctions on the Shiite Islamic Republic. Moreover, Qatar remains blockaded by regional Sunni nations—namely, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt—in part due to its close ties to the Iranian regime. In its original bid to host the tournament, Doha proposed using facilities elsewhere in the Gulf, which, given the current circumstances, would first necessitate mending ties with its neighbors.