Qatar World Cup organizers are discussing with FIFA whether to scrap plans to build four of its 12 stadiums for the 2022 tournament.
The Qataris say the decision to explore if the competition can be staged with just eight venues is because of the ”size of our country.”
The organizing committee will submit a proposal to FIFA by December that still ensures ”a suitable legacy for the country.” FIFA’s executive committee will wait until March before telling Qatar how many stadiums are required.
Reducing the number of stadiums would provide fewer construction sites to be scrutinized by rights group, who have raised concerns about conditions for migrant workers in Qatar.
Brazil organizers are having difficulty getting 12 stadiums ready for the World Cup kickoff in June.
On Wednesday, Japan’s football chief has apologized to Qatar’s 2022 World Cup organizers after he reportedly stated his country was ready to step in as replacement hosts — and insists he fully supports the decision to stage the tournament in the emirate.
Kuniya Daini, president of the Japan Football Association (JFA), has sent a grovelling apology to Qatar 2022 claiming he was mistranslated in an interview.
In a letter to Qatar FA president Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Ahmad Al Thani, a copy of which has been seen by Press Association Sport, Daini states: "It is a fact and a decision by FIFA that [the] 2022 FIFA World Cup will be held in Qatar. We, Japan Football Association, fully support the hosting by Qatar with confidence that it will lead to further development of football in Asia. You will have our full support for the success of the biggest event in football."
Japan had bid against Qatar for the right to host 2022, and Tokyo is hosting the 2020 Olympics.
Daini adds in the letter: "The article… was not based on the facts or actual remarks I made during the interview. At the same time I wish to sincerely apologize for any inconvenience or misunderstanding this may have caused to you and all the other concerned parties."
FIFA is still looking at moving the timing of the 2022 tournament to the winter to avoid the summer heat in Qatar, and a decision is not expected until next year.
There is also an on-going investigation into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process by FIFA’s ethics committee, headed by US attorney Michael Garcia, but it appears unlikely it will lead to either Qatar or 2018 hosts Russia being stripped of the World Cup.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.