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By ESPN Staff

Bin Hammam: Finals would be a lift

Asian Football Confederation president Mohammed Bin Hammam believes staging the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will provide the whole Middle East region with a lift it so desperately needs.

Qatar are up against fellow AFC members Australia, South Korea, Japan and Indonesia for the right to host the showpiece tournament in 12 years time, as well as bids from England, Russia and America. Holland and Belgium and Spain and Portugal have both submitted joint proposals.

"There are so many advantages if Qatar get to host the World Cup," said Bin Hammam about his home country's bid. "All the group matches can be played in venues which are within reasonable distance of each other. So one can watch more than one group match the same day.

"Secondly, Qatar will be representing the wishes and hopes of the Middle East. The Middle East also has the legitimate right to seek peace through football and an event like the World Cup can replace the sorry story of wars."

However, Bin Hammam is equally keen to see the World Cup once again awarded to Asia following Japan and South Korea's successful co-hosting of the event in 2002.

Of the contenders, Qatar, South Korea and Indonesia have declared an interest in hosting only the 2022 tournament with the rest also vying for the 2018 edition.

"The first priority is to bring the World Cup to Asia. Who gets it is secondary. AFC has 46 member Associations and we are representing their interests," Bin Hammam added.

"I can understand why Korea want to host the World Cup alone now after co-hosting it in 2002. I understand the reason behind the bid - it is a noble reason.

"The Government and KFA are fully behind the bid. The concept is one of bringing peace to the Korean peninsula through football. Hosting the World Cup is the right of all nations. And Korea have expressed a very legitimate wish."

The decision as to who has won the race to stage the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be announced on December 2.

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