SFA forge partnership with World Cup hosts Qatar

FIFA President Sepp Blatter revealing Qatar as 2022 World Cup host country. Picture: Getty
FIFA President Sepp Blatter revealing Qatar as 2022 World Cup host country. Picture: Getty
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THE Scottish Football Association has agreed a partnership with World Cup 2022 hosts Qatar after a visit to the Gulf nation.

A three-man SFA delegation of chief executive Stewart Regan, president Campbell Ogilvie and vice-president Rod Petrie visited the oil-rich state last week on a fact-finding visit. They viewed their facilities, including their Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence and the Aspetar Sports Medicine Hospital, with a Scotland Under-15 squad also playing in a tournament in Doha. And the Qatari FA has revealed they have now established close links with the SFA.

Vice-president Saud Abdulaziz Al Mohannadi said: “We had excellent discussions with the Scottish FA delegation and we have many areas of common interest. “We agreed to strengthen areas of cooperation that will contribute to benefit the relations between our football associations [and] improve the football system in both Qatar and Scotland.”

Ogilvie insisted the SFA were happy to help to try and improve Qatari football, ahead of their controversial hosting of the World Cup next decade.

He said: “Doha has become one of the most important sports cities in the global arena. Qatari football is progressing and we hope to work together in the future.”

Meanwhile, global football executives will fly into Qatar this week to conclude discussions on when the 2022 World Cup should be played. The outcome already seems clear: football’s biggest event will be played in November and December for the first time unless Fifa gives in to European opposition.

In Doha today, powerbrokers from Europe’s clubs and leagues on Fifa’s Qatar task force will once again spell out the disruption that would be created by splitting their seasons. But with the scheduling decision resting with Fifa’s executive committee, it seems unlikely President Sepp Blatter’s desire for November-December will be overruled.