Asian confederation reinforces support for Qatar World Cup

The AFC gave its full backing to its member federation which was awarded the tournament by FIFA in December 2010

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The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) threw its weight behind the choice of Qatar for the 2022 World Cup on Thursday as international calls continued to question the Gulf state’s right to host the tournament.

In a statement the governing body for Asian football said: “The AFC reiterates its support for the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar.

“Football is the world’s game that should set itself no geographical borders.

“The Gulf is a true football region, with some of the world’s most passionate football lovers, and Qatar is no exception.”

Demands for Qatar’s hosting rights to be reviewed have grown amid renewed allegations that it secured the tournament because of corrupt voting by members of FIFA’s executive committee.

The FBI’s investigation of bribery and corruption at FIFA includes scrutiny of how soccer’s governing body awarded World Cup staging rights to Qatar and Russia, hosts of the 2018 tournament.

Qatar and Russia have denied wrongdoing in the conduct of their bids, which were not the subject of charges announced by U.S. prosecutors a week ago against FIFA officials that stunned world soccer.

The AFC gave its full backing to its member federation which was awarded the tournament by FIFA in December 2010, seeing off opposition from South Korea, Japan, Australia and the United States.

The AFC statement continued: “Qatar 2022 will be the first time the West Asian region will have had a chance to show this passion to the world, during what will be only the second FIFA World Cup to be held in Asia.

“The AFC and the whole Asian football community stands with Qatar and we all look forward to hosting the World Cup, and welcoming the world.”

Despite the AFC stance, current Asian champions Australia released a statement on Wednesday saying they were still bitter about losing the vote, with Football Federation of Australia chairman Frank Lowy saying: “We ran a clean bid. I know that others did not, and I have shared what I know with the authorities.”

Australia’s national police are evaluating the country’s failed bid while politicians have said Australia would be ready to step in and host the World Cup in 2022 if Qatar was stripped of the tournament.