Doha, Jan 29 (AP) The 2022 World Cup should not be spreadbeyond Qatar to neighboring countries but Asian FootballConfederation President Mohamed bin Hammam added today theentire Gulf region will benefit economically.
Speaking ahead of the Asian Cup final on Saturday, BinHammam said Qatar submitted a bid to host the 2022 tournamentalone so it was only "fair" that it be allowed to organizematches within the border of the tiny, desert nation.
"From this point of view, I don''t think any other countrywill have a part in the competition," he said.
But Bin Hammam, a Qatari, said he felt the impact of thetournament "will be huge" for the region as a result ofincreased tourism and infrastructure projects, as well as thelegacy it leaves since it will be the first World Cup in theMiddle East.
"The region will benefit from the tourists; economicallyI think infrastructure needs to be built," he said. "A lot ofpeople are going to come to work for constructing theseinfrastructure. I actually see a huge impact, including thefootball by itself will be promoted in a very (huge) way."
The idea of Qatar sharing the World Cup was raised byFIFA President Sepp Blatter and endorsed by vice presidentMichel Platini within days of the vote on Dec. 2.
Blatter and Platini also believe the tournament should bemoved to January to avoid Qatar''s extreme desert heat in thesummer.
As chairman of the French organizing committee for the1998 World Cup, Platini said he altered some plans afterwinning hosting rights.
Qatar has refused to comment on any changes in the biduntil it forms an organizing committee, and none of its Gulfneighbors have said whether they would like to host matches.
The competing plans for the 2022 World Cup have become apolitical football in recent weeks, as Bin Hammam was regardedas the most likely candidate to challenge Blatter when heseeks a fourth term in June elections.
Bin Hammam has increasingly taken a hard line againstmoving the tournament or expanding its venues, making hisstrongest comments yet today. Previously, he''d simply said anydecisions on those issues should be made after 2018.
It''s unclear whether his clashes with Blatter over the2022 World Cup are part of a strategy to set himself apartfrom the 74-year-old FIFA president should he launch apresidential campaign. Blatter, president since 1998, is upfor re-election in June for a fourth four-year term. Nochallenger has stepped forward yet. MORE (AP) PDS