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Qatar ready to make history in Asian Cup … but the world is not watching | Barney Ronay

The 2022 World Cup hosts are excelling on the pitch in the UAE but political turmoil in the region and poor crowds mean Fifa’s fervent interest is not matched across the globe

When the Qatar 2022 World Cup was announced in Zurich by a sweating, slightly fevered Sepp Blatter, the idea was floated almost immediately that this could become a regional tournament; that Qatar’s gulf neighbours might share the burden and the riches, bringing them together in one great happy football-stinking embrace.

It is a theme Fifa has returned to even as the Gulf itself has atomised in the eight years since, with the suggestion still out there that an expanded 42-team tournament could bring Qatar’s neighbours on board.

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