Iran is among a number of Middle Eastern countries that could host some of the 2022 World Cup matches, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has revealed.
The inclement weather in Qatar continues to prompt calls for the tournament to be moved to the winter, but Blatter has joined UEFA president Michel Platini's calls to share the tournament among a number countries.
Blatter insists the United Arab Emirates and Iran are viable options to act as co-hosts, while also commenting on concerns over the working conditions in Qatar as the Gulf nation continues its preparations.
"This is a question I keep a big question mark behind," he told reporters in Abu Dhabi. "I passed through Iran and, even on a political level, they said they would be happy to host some of the matches.
"Not only the Gulf states, but also Iran. This is a matter for the United Arab Emirates as well, they are very eager. Also, I want to avoid all this criticism concerning workers' rights, but this is another problem.
"To have the finals in different countries is not a new fact and I am sure it is something on the table at a certain time. "We need to take this step by step. We have up until 2022 to make a decision, nine years."
Although the sharing of the World Cup could allay some concerns over the heat in Qatar, Blatter is still determined to arrange for the tournament to be staged in November/December 2021.
"The first step is figuring out how it can be made in winter, November or December. This will be discussed up until the next World Cup," he added. "Our main concern is to consult with stakeholders, and all participants in football clubs, leagues, national federations and players.
"Another category is the economic partners, marketing, media and television. To spread it to other countries isn't a new point. It’s an interesting one."