The new president of football governing body FIFA has confirmed that the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar respectively will go ahead as planned despite the controversies surrounding them.
“Concerning Qatar and Russia, the decisions were taken in 2010 by the executive committee, but since 2010 there has been speculation and allegations and noise,” Gianni Infantino told reporters.
“It’s now necessary to organise the best World Cup in history in Russia in 2018 and in 2022 in Qatar.”
Infantino won Friday’s FIFA presidency election to succeed Sepp Blatter, beating Jordan’s Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, Jerome Champagne and South Africa’s Tokyo Sexwale.
Following his win, Qatar’s World Cup organising committee also released a statement congratulating him.
“We wish President Infantino well in his new role and look forward to working closely with him as we continue our preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar,” the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy said.
“We would also like to commend the other four presidential candidates who contributed a great deal to an election campaign run during a crucial time for football. We wish all of them the greatest success and luck in their future careers.”
Qatar has been accused of bribery charges over its winning bid to host the tournament and is currently being investigated by Switzerland’s attorney general. However the Gulf state has denied all the allegations.
FIFA officials also confirmed last year that the event would be moved to the winter months to cope with the hot weather in Qatar.
The tournament will begin on November 21 and the final match will be played on December 18, meaning that it will run for just 28 days. It will be the shortest event since 1998 when 32 teams began playing in the World Cup.