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Posted On: 16 March 2009 08:35 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

Doha stakes claim to host World Cup

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Qatar will officially submit its football World Cup bid file at FIFA headquarters in Swiss capital Zurich today. A special Qatari delegation - led by Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani - will hand over the bid file to FIFA President Sepp Blatter. Qatar, where football remains the most popular sport, is aiming to win the rights to host either the 2018 edition or the one to be held in 2022. The next edition of the FIFA World Cup finals will be held in South Africa in June 2010 whereas Brazil will host the 2014 edition. No decision has been reached on who will host the 2018 and 2022 editions According to an official communiqué, Sheikh Mohammed has been appointed chief of a 24-member committee, formed to oversee Qatar’s preparation to win the rights to host the game’s showpiece event. The committee was formed to meet one of the conditions set by FIFA, the game’s ruling body. In January this year, Qatar officially announced its intention to host the event. No country in the Middle East has ever bid for the rights to host the FIFA World Cup finals held every four years. By joining the race to host the FIFA World Cup finals, Qatar will enter the bid race with countries like Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Holland, England, Russia, the US, Mexico, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and China. The host countries of 2018 and 2022 editions will be announced in December 2010. It is worth mentioning that Qatar is the only nation in the Arab world to harbour serious ambitions to bring world famous sporting events to its capital. In December 2006, Doha staged the 15th Asian Games, the second largest sports gathering after the Olympic Games. In October 2007, Qatar became the only country in the Middle East to mount a serious bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games. However, despite managing a superior IOC evaluation score than Rio de Janeiro, the Qatari capital was controversially knocked out at the first elimination stage in July last year. After the setback, Qatar quickly turned its attention to hosting the FIFA World Cup finals. Doha remains the sports hub of the region and has state-of-the-art facilities to match its ambitious desires to bring world class events to the oil-rich country. Qatar has the world’s largest indoor sports facility - the ASPIRE Academy - a venue which successfully hosted numerous disciplines during the 2006 Asian Games. In what could be considered a unique architectural achievement, Qatar is constructing the world’s first underground football pitch. Called ‘The Laptop Stadium’, this yet-to-be-completed facility will be air-conditioned to take care of the sweltering heat in the months of June and July - two months favoured by FIFA for World Cup editions.