Qatar ready for high-octane soccer showpieces


Qatar Stadium update November 2020 Image: Qatar2022, SC & FIFA

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has confirmed that 22 national teams will partake of in the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 to be held in Qatar.

Qatar will bring together millions of hardcore football fans from across the Middle East and Arab world when it hosts the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 next December.

While visiting the Lusail Stadium on Tuesday, FIFA boss Infantino confirmed that the national first teams from all 22 Arab nations have signed up to participate in the fixture, which will be held from December 1st-18th , 2021, in the majority of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ stadia, with a total of 32 matches to be held over 18 days.

The Asian Football Confederation nations to compete in the tournament are – Qatar, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

The Confederation of African Football nations to take part in the soccer spectacle are – Algeria, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan, and Tunisia.

The Asian Football Confederation is one of the six confederations within FIFA and is the governing body of association football in Asia and Australia.

The Confederation of African Football or CAF is the administrative and controlling body for African association football. CAF represents the national football associations of Africa, runs continental, national, and club competitions, and controls the prize money, regulations and media rights to those competitions.

The tournament will be delivered by FIFA, Qatar Football Association, and the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) and the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC. The above soccer showpiece is being viewed as a kind of pilot to test operations and facilities ahead of Qatar 2022. The tournament will take place in the same time slot as the World Cup. The finals of both the FIFA Arab Cup and FIFA World Cup™ will take place exactly one year apart – each on December 18th , Qatar National Day, which is a public holiday.

The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) was formed in 2011 and is tasked with delivering the proposed tournament venues and host country planning and operations for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ – the first to be held in the Arab world.

Stated Infantino, “We are delighted that all 22 teams from across the Arab world have agreed to take part in the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, and we are looking forward to seeing the region’s best teams battle it out to see which nation will become champion. Through football, this tournament will unite over 450 million people from across the region, and we are confident the FIFA Arab Cup will help to build excitement across the region as we edge ever nearer to hosting the first FIFA World Cup™ in the Middle East and Arab world in 2022.”

Qatar Football Association President, H.E. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Ahmed Al Thani, observed, “Qatar looks forward to welcoming 22 Arab national teams and their fans, and giving them the opportunity to be one of the select teams that will experience what Qatar has prepared to host the FIFA World Cup™.”

Al Thani added, “The tournament will give our national team the chance to enhance their preparations ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, by going up against some of the best teams in the region.”

He continued, “Fans from across the region will be treated to the same world-class experience that awaits fans from around the world when they flock to Qatar for the FIFA World Cup™ in 2022. We welcome our friends from the Middle East and the Arab world to join us in what will be an important milestone and a final test of our preparations, only one year away from us hosting the first FIFA World Cup™ in the region.”

Amir Cup final

The new Al Rayyan Stadium in Qatar will be inaugurated on December 18th, when it hosts the Amir Cup 2020 final between Qatari sports clubs Al Sadd and Al Arabi.

Built on the site of Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium, the new Al Rayyan Stadium will incorporate symbols of Qatari culture into its spectacular undulating façade. The facilities surrounding the venue will also mirror the country, with sand dune-shaped structures recalling the beautifully wild lands to the West. It has been built for the FIFA spectacle to be held in Qatar in 2022.

This makes Al Rayyan Stadium the fourth venue of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ to be opened, with Khalifa International, Al Janoub and Education City stadia getting off the ground earlier.

The remaining facilities – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Thumama Stadium, Ras Abu Aboud Stadium and Lusail Stadium – are at various stages of construction.

The Qatar Football Association and the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) tweeted that Al Rayyan Stadium will serve as the Amir Cup final venue. It was also highlighted in a report issued recently by the SC on the status of all eight World Cup venues.

“Recent infrastructure completions include the stadium façade, seating installation and the playing surface. The stadium will be inaugurated when it hosts the 2020 Amir Cup final on December 18th,” the SC report said in regard to the Al Rayyan Stadium.

The report further stated that boasting a capacity of 40,000, Al Rayyan Stadium will “showcase the very best of Qatari culture when it hosts seven matches up to the round of Stage 16 during Qatar 2022”.

The outer façade will be made up of intricate patterns representing Qatar, from its history of trade to its varied wildlife. Al Rayyan’s desert landscapes will be reflected on the façade – and in the dune-shaped hospitality areas and merchandise stalls dotted around the stadium complex.

The stadium sits some 22 km away from the Doha city center.

Infrastructure planned for the Qatar FIFA showpiece in 2022 has reached 90 percent completion, with the three arenas that have already been opened – Khalifa International, Al Janoub and Education City – safely staging more than 100 matches in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, as per the SC.

All eight facilities will be completed much ahead of the tournament, which will kick off on November 21, 2022, the SC asserted.

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