FIFA President Gianni Infantino has been left impressed by Qatar’s preparations for the 2022 World Cup.
Infantino met with the tournament organisers during a whistle-stop tour of Qatar on Tuesday. He visited the Al Bayt stadium, a 60,000-capacity venue designed to resemble a traditional Arab tent, and also took part in a seven-a-side match there. The striking arena is set to be inaugurated in the coming months and will host the opening game of the World Cup on 21 November 2022.
“It is an absolute pleasure to play football at this amazing stadium where on 21 November 2022, we will kick-off the greatest FIFA World Cup ever,” said Infantino.
“Al Bayt Stadium is incredible: a true football stadium. It has a real football feel and a local touch. The tented shape makes it truly unique, and the Arabic patterns in the roof are just beautiful. I am speechless,” gushed Infantino.
Qatar Government and the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) have implemented stringent health and safety protocols to protect workers at the various World Cup 2022 project sites from COVID-19. They have already inaugurated three venues – Khalifa International, Al Janoub and Education City stadiums – which are fully operational now. Three more venues – Al Bayt, Al Rayyan and Al Thumama – are in the final stages of construction.
All eight venues are set to be completed well in advance of the tournament and the FIFA Supremo threw his weight behind Qatar’s work.
“I am very pleased with Qatar’s progress ahead of the tournament. We have seen the plans, but when you see in reality, it is even more impressive. Qatar has been able to continue to advance during the last six months when the world stood still – from infrastructure preparations to important developments such as the recent labour reforms announced by the Government. If I was confident before, now I can say I am even more,” added Infantino.
“In 2022, everything will be close by and fans from all nationalities will have the opportunity to gather in the same public areas and enjoy Qatar’s mild temperatures at this time of the year. It’s a World Cup like no other was or will ever be.”
H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary-General of the SC, highlighted the work done by Qatar in ensuring no stone is left unturned in their bid to ‘Deliver Amazing’ in 2022.
“We are immensely proud to be hosting the Arab World and Middle East’s first World Cup in 2022.
“With that pride comes a sense of responsibility, and that factor is enhanced since the world has had to come to terms with COVID-19. We are optimistic that by kick-off in November 2022, we’ll be ready to welcome fans from every continent here in Qatar to celebrate together, unified by their shared passion for football.
“It was a pleasure to welcome President Infantino to Al Bayt Stadium today (Tuesday). Al Bayt is particularly meaningful to us, representing the town of Al Khor, and the culture and history of Qatar through its special design. We’re all looking forward to the first ball of the FIFA World Cup 2022 being kicked in this stadium two years from now.”
Nasser Al Khater, CEO, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC, focused on the fans and stated that the country was looking forward to hosting fans from all over the world in 2022.
“When it comes to World Cup infrastructure, we’re in a great position with construction nearing 90% completion across all projects,” said Al Khater.
At this point on the road to 2022, our focus is now shifting from delivering infrastructure to refining and optimising the detailed operational planning and fan experience for the tournament. We are also now significantly stepping up our promotion of the tournament to ensure as many people as possible have the opportunity to attend and enjoy this unique World Cup.”