FIFA will hold talks with human rights groups about issues associated with expanding the 2022 World Cup in the Persian Gulf beyond host Qatar.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino is hoping to secure approval in June to expand the tournament from 32 to 48 teams, which creates the need to accommodate an additional 16 matches in the region.
FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura wrote to Amnesty International and other activists on Saturday that “this process also includes an assessment of human rights risks and potential opportunities associated with a possible expansion. In that respect, we look forward to the bilateral consultation calls with many of you in the coming days and weeks.”
A FIFA feasibility study has already determined that jumping from 64 to 80 games would require two stadiums in at least one more country in the region.
A regional diplomatic crisis left neutral Kuwait and Oman as the viable options, but Oman has said it isn’t keen on hosting games at the FIFA showpiece.