Qatar Ready to Host FIFA Club World Cup

Published January 24th, 2021 - 10:27 GMT
Ahmad Bin Ali stadium (Photo: Gulf Times)
Ahmad Bin Ali stadium (Photo: Gulf Times)

To ensure safety and the best of health for all, Education City and Ahmad Bin Ali stadium’s capacity will be limited to 30% for the FIFA Club World Cup, which will be held from February 4 to 11 in Qatar, the organisers said on Saturday.

The two venues both have a seating capacity of 40,000 each, but with the Club World Cup being staged with strict measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, the organisers in accordance with guidance from Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) decided to cap the spectator numbers at 30 percent.

The tournament – which Qatar is hosting for the second time, will feature six teams. Al Duhail are the host nation’s representatives and are joined in the tournament by various continental champions Al Ahly, Bayern Munich, Ulsan Hyundai and Tigres UANL.

The field will be completed by the winners of the Copa Libertadores, which will take place on 30 January. New Zealand side Auckland City will not compete as initially planned due to quarantine restrictions related to Covid-19.

The first round match will no longer take place and Al Duhail will begin the competition in the second round. The competition format remains otherwise unchanged.

The tournament was due to be played in December but was postponed due to Covid-19. Players and officials will be part of a strict medical bubble system designed to protect their health and wellbeing, Dr Abdulwahab Al Musleh, Senior Consultant to the MoPH said at a press conference held at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) on Saturday.

This will include regular COVID-19 testing, safe transportation methods and regular disinfection of tournament venues, including training and media facilities.

Fans will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result up to 72 hours prior to the match or show evidence that they’re not required to take the test, such as proof of contracting the virus after 1 October 2020 or proof of receiving two doses of the vaccine.

Fans must also adhere to strict social distancing measures and wear face masks covering both nose and mouth, in addition to having their temperature taken and showing green status on their Ehteraz track and trace application upon entering the tournament venue. The two tournament venues are also equipped with medical clinics, which will be available to fans should they require medical assistance.

International fans will be unable to attend because of Qatar’s virus mitigation measures, and there will be no public events including fan zones. “We have put in place a complete protocol and precautionary measures before and during the tournament and they will be strictly applied,” Dr. Al Musleh said.

“During the last few months, Qatar has hosted several tournaments successfully despite the prevailing pandemic and that has given FIFA the confidence to host the Club World Cup in the country. The Ministry of Public Health in cooperation with the local organising committee has developed a special protocol and all those who are part of the event will be required to prove that they are not infected with the Coronavirus,” he added.

Dr. Al Musleh said the slight increase in the cases in Qatar in the last week means the organisers won’t raise the capacity beyond 30 percent, who added the new variants of coronavirus are likely already in Qatar.

Following a cluster of cases in the Saudi team’s Al Hilal team during the AFC Champions League at the end of last year, Al Musleh said that “several measures to prevent that recurring” had been taken.

Fatma Al Nuaimi, Communications Executive Director at Local Organising Committee said: “Qatar is hosting the tournament for the second year in a row, and this time the tournament is held in different circumstances due to the new coronavirus crisis, where precautionary measures will be followed.”

A range of affordable tickets will be available online on a first-come, first-served basis, with prices ranging from QAR 10 for a Category 3 ticket for the first five matches up to QAR 300 for a Category 1 ticket for the final. Tickets will be available at https://fcwc2020.com/ and sold exclusively online.

Fans are being advised to take the Doha Metro and arrive at least one hour before kick-off. Both stadiums are served directly by the Doha Metro: Education City and Al Riffa stations will connect fans to Education City and Ahmad Bin Ali stadiums respectively.


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