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Qatar upbeat on 2022 World Cup bid

Update: 2010-07-27 18:19:46
Qatar upbeat on 2022 World Cup bid

SINGAPORE: Qatar is optimistic on its chances of hosting the 2022 World Cup, the bid`s chief executive said Wednesday in the countdown to a decision by football`s governing body FIFA on December 2.

Hassan Al Thawadi said he expected tough competition but believed the Gulf state had made huge strides since announcing its bid in May 2009.

"What I like to say is this, I am optimistic, I am very, very optimistic," Al Thawadi said after a media presentation held on the sidelines of a football forum in Singapore.

"We have made great strides over the past year and a half since we submitted our bid registration... I think it will be a close call."

Success for Qatar would not only bring the World Cup to the Middle East for the first time but would boost the game throughout the region, he said.

Qatar has played host to major sporting events including the Asian Games in 2006, but securing the World Cup would be a big coup for the gas-rich emirate.

It has backed its bid with a seemingly limitless budget and ambitious plans to improve its transport network.

Qatar, South Korea, Japan and Australia are bidding to host the 2022 World Cup, while England, Russia and the United States are bidding to host the World Cup either in 2018 or 2022, as are Spain-Portugal and the Netherlands-Belgium.

If Europe gets 2018, the continent will be excluded from the 2022 race.

BDST: 1453 HRS, JULY 28, 2010

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