Ireland and South Africa are set to have competition for hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup after Qatar expressed an interest in making a bid.
The shock news broke on Wednesday as Middle East rugby bosses believe the showpiece would be an ideal follow-on to 2022's soccer World Cup.
France, Argentina, Italy and a combined USA and Canadian bid were recently reported, but the latest possible host will turn the most heads.
Qatar's planned hosting of the soccer event has received criticism due to its sweltering weather conditions, which has ultimately seen the tournament being scheduled to take place in winter. In fact, 2022's World Cup final was recently confirmed to be happening on December 18.
However, it appears the proposed rugby bid will be for the tournament to take place during June and July when temperatures can exceed 50°C.
To combat this issue there are twelve stadiums with controlled temperatures via air conditioning, which have been lined up as rugby venues.
World Rugby recently expressed their desire to grow the game in the so-called Tier 2 countries, which adds weight to Qatar's possible bid, with expansion being discussed for future World Cups. Both England (2015) and Japan (2019) have 20 teams but that may grow in 2023's event.
Qatar's interest has also led to speculation that a Test match could take place between the currently unranked national side and the All Blacks in the next few years.
Furthermore, the hugely successful Dubai Sevens has demonstrated that the ex-pat community would relish such a spectacle in the Middle East as we await a formal bid that must be made by June 15, 2015, in what promises to be a fiercely contested process between the proposed hosts.