New York Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill said he believes Qatar should host the World Cup in 2022.
Speaking after Qatar defeated Australia 1-0 in a friendly Wednesday, the Australian international said "you have to give football a chance in every nation," according to Yahoo Sports.
"The money they [Qatar] put into football is overwhelming and for me, every time I come here I'm like 'wow'. They should be proud of what they are creating. For me I have no problem (in Qatar hosting the World Cup)."
The former Everton midfielder continued: "I feel they deserve the opportunity. There is a lot of people that talk about the heat and talk about the facilities, [but] they have to question themselves as to whether they have actually been here."
"They [the people of the Middle East] will prove a lot of people wrong, and if they don't they will hold their hands up gracefully because that's the kind of people they are."
Qatar received the bid to host the 2022 tournament in 2010 at the same time Russia was given the 2018 World Cup.
Both bids have faced intense scrutiny since they awarded, especially Qatar's, with allegations of corruption and bribery in the bidding process having surfaced.
FIFA commissioned an investigation into allegations, and lead investigator Michael Garcia recently completed his investigation and submitted his report to FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert, who will announced his findings in the spring.
Qatar's bid has also been controversial due to alleged labor abuse inflicted upon migrant workers brought in to construct World Cup stadiums and other facilities.
Critics have also pointed to the Middle Eastern country's intense summer heat as a reason it shouldn't host the tournament, leading to FIFA to explore moving the 2022 tournament to the winter. FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said the tournament can't be played in the summer in Qatar.
Cahill, 34, has two goals in 21 games for the Red Bulls this season. The captain of the Australian national team helped lead Australia to qualify for the last three World Cups.
- Ben Estes