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By ESPN Staff

Qatar delight at historic award

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Mohammad bin Hamad Al-Thani believes FIFA's decision to award the nation the hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup marks a "milestone" for the sport in the Middle East.

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Bids from the United States and Australia had been fancied to emerge as victors but FIFA president Sepp Blatter confirmed that the emirate had come out on top in the vote by the world governing body's 22-man executive committee.

There had been concerns over staging the tournament in Qatar, especially as temperatures can rise to 50 degrees Celsius during the months of June and July.

But the bid team plan to control temperatures inside the grounds, which will be zero carbon emitting. And Al-Thani believes the tournament offers the whole region a fantastic opportunity.

He said: "On behalf of millions of people living in the Middle East, thank you. Thank you for believing in us, thank you for having such bold vision. Thank you also for acknowledging this is the right time for the Middle East. We have a date with history which is summer 2022.

"We acknowledge there is a lot of work to do and we stand by our promise and we will honour the sacred trust given to us today. We will deliver with a lot of passion and we will make sure this is a milestone in the history of the Middle East and in the history of FIFA."

Qatar defeated the United States, who had former president Bill Clinton as honorary chairman to their bid and also enlisted the help of actor Morgan Freeman, in the final round of voting.

And US Soccer president Sunil Gulati told "There's no way around it: I am disappointed. Millions of US soccer fans worked hard to bring the World Cup to our country. To come up short is very difficult to take."

Despite being viewed as one of the favourites Australia were dumped out of contention in the first round of the vote, securing just one vote.

But bid chief executive Ben Buckley was proud of the effort put in by his team, saying they had proven Australia to be a viable potential host for future stagings.

"We are obviously disappointed at the outcome in Zurich, however we are proud of the efforts we made in trying to secure a FIFA World Cup in Australia," Buckley said in a statement.

"We mounted a technically excellent, credible and responsible bid against enormous competition and this strong bid has delivered important benefits. Australia's reputation as a potential host for such a major event has been reinforced.

"The bid showcased Australia as an attractive destination for tourists and business and benefits will flow from this. For football in Australia, the coverage has boosted the game's profile and our international relationships have been strengthened.

"We sincerely thank the Australian public for their enthusiasm for the bid, the Australian governments for their unequivocal support and the many ambassadors who have supported Australia's bid along the way.

"Football in Australia will continue to grow with your support - and we thank you for that."


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