November 21st marked exactly two years to the day the world of football will witness another masterclass when the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off on Saturday, November 21, 2022, in Qatar.
Football at the world stage will find a new home when it is held in the Middle East and Arabia for the first time, with the hosts Qatar guaranteeing a futuristic, fascinating and compact world cup.
Preparations for the groundbreaking World Cup tournament have gone on smoothly with three stadiums that will host matches already completed.
Khalifah International, Education City and Al Janoub stadiums are ready to host games and have already hosted more than 100 matches this year even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Al Rayyan, Al Bayt and Al Thumama venues are all in the final stages of construction, with the other two tournament venues – Ras Abu Aboud and Lusail set to be completed in 2021.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino praised the host nation of Qatar for their commitment towards hosting qhat he described as an unforgettable World Cup which will build a legacy for the tournament beyond 2022.
“2020 has surely been a challenging year for the entire world, and football was no exception,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino told FIFA.com.
“Despite the difficulties, steady progress was made in the last few months, showing yet again Qatar’s strong and continued commitment to hosting an unforgettable FIFA World Cup in two years’ time, which will no doubt build a legacy long beyond 2022.”
“During my short visit to Doha a few weeks ago, I witnessed first-hand how well preparations have advanced,” he added.
“Besides the very important labour reforms recently announced by the government, progress has also been made on stadium construction, along with the implementation of strict measures to protect workers’ health.”
“I am looking forward with confidence to Qatar 2022, for the transformative impact it is already having on the country and the region, for the unique experience it will provide fans from all over the world and, of course, for witnessing the best World Cup ever,” Infantino explained.
Besides stadiums, Qatar has also advanced its infrastructure which included expansion of the country’s Hamad International Airport which will handle more than 50 million visitors by 2022.
New roads have been constructed while they have also developed a state-of-the-art Doha Metro which was also utilised by fans during the FIFA Club World Cup in 2019.
The 2022 edition in Qatar will be the most compact version of the World Cup, with stadiums situated in close proximity to one another ensuring shorter travel times for the players, media and fans.
The stadiums are linked together by a futuristic transport system which guarantees that visitors will be able to stay in one location with no internal flights required for travel between host stadiums.
The longest distance between venues is 75km from Al Bayt to Al Janoub while the shortest distance between Education City and Al Rayyan is under five kilometres.
The Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy Hassan Al Thawadi exuded confidence and pride in the progress made towards preparations for the country’s first-ever World Cup.
“We are immensely proud of the progress we have made over the last ten years,” Al Thawadi said.
“Both tournament and national infrastructure projects are well advanced, with everything on track to be completed well ahead of the big kick-off.”
“Our legacy projects, meanwhile, are already having an impact on people’s lives in areas such as workers’ rights, education and entrepreneurship. This is an incredibly important FIFA World Cup – for Qatar, the region and the world.”
“Qatar 2022 will introduce billions of people to the Middle East and the Arab world for the first time, and help to foster a greater understanding and break down stereotypes that people may have of our country and region. We’re very excited to welcome the world in 2022,” he noted.
In July, it was confirmed that the opening match would take place at the stunning Al Bayt Stadium, a 60,000-capacity venue designed to resemble a traditional tent used in the Arab world.
The final will be staged at the 80,000-capacity Lusail Stadium on December 18, 2022 – Qatar National Day, which is a public holiday.