With the State of Qatar overcoming challenges posed by the global pandemic and successfully hosting sporting events, the Chief Executive Officer of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Nasser Al Khater hopes for the successful return of fans to stadiums when the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 is staged from November 30 to December 18.
Speaking soon after the draw ceremony for FIFA Arab Cup 2021 at Katara Opera House on Wednesday, Nasser Al Khater said, “The important thing is for us to be a dynamic culture. We have luckily been able to host several tournaments with the safe return of football fans to the stadiums earlier. We hope that the situation will be different now with the rollout of the vaccines and we would be able to host a tournament with the full return of fans to the stadiums. However, we’ll be ready for any eventuality.”
Al Khater also said that the event will provide a footprint of how things will be leading to FIFA World Cup 2022. “It’s an important milestone for us. As you know, the Confederations Cup was always the main test event for previous World Cups. For us, this will be a 23 team tournament, 16 teams in the group stages. So it is a big tournament and it is a big opportunity for the celebration of football in the Arab world.
“For us, what’s important, that this is a successful tournament from a technical perspective and from a footballing perspective. However, for us as organizers, it’s very important to test all the operational plans that we’ve put in place over the over the years. The FIFA Arab Cup 2021 is the main event for us prior to hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022,” Al Khater said.
The first-ever FIFA Arab Cup will offer an opportunity for fans, players and officials to use world-class facilities dedicated to hosting the World Cup, including the stadiums, training venues and others.
Al Khater said Qatar looks forward to hosting national teams from all over the Arab world as part of the country’s preparations to receive teams and fans from around the world in the largest sporting event in the region’s history next year.
On the difficulty of some groups, Al Khater indicated that there is no difficult or easy group, and that all teams will surely face difficulties, as each team will strive to win and qualify for the second round.
“The technical level of football in all the countries has been improving over the years and as such the competition will provide for top contests,” he said.
Al Khater underlined that FIFA is satisfied with all the preparations, and that everyone praises the preparations for the World Cup.
The Arab Cup Qatar 2021 will take place later this year during a similar timeslot to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
It is seen as a vital opportunity to test operations and facilities exactly a year before Qatar hosts the first World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world.
By Vinay Nayudu
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