The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) praised the significant progress of Qatar's preparations to host the FIFA World Cup, as yesterday marked the 1,000-day countdown to the 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup - which will kick off in Qatar on 21 November 2022.
The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy - the organization responsible for delivering tournament infrastructure and legacy projects - said they are determined to utilize the power of hosting world football's premier international event by leaving a lasting legacy which benefits the country, the region and the world.
Since winning the hosting rights in 2010, Qatar has overseen significant infrastructure development, including the completion of two stadiums: Khalifa International and Al Janoub. Three more stadiums - Education City, Al Rayyan and Al Bayt - will be inaugurated during 2020, with the remaining three set to be launched well in advance of the tournament.
In addition, 21 Team Base Camps have been approved and included in the first version of the brochure presented to the teams playing the qualifiers. Qatar remains on track to deliver the remaining number of required training sites well ahead of the tournament. The country has also delivered a state-of-the-art metro system - which was successfully used by fans during the recent FIFA Club World Cup - to ensure supporters enjoy a seamless travel experience.
"With 1,000 days to go, Qatar stands where no other host did before. Qatar wants to amaze the world and is on track to achieve it," said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
"The FIFA World Cup 2022 will be a breakthrough from a social and cultural perspective. It will open the doors of this football-mad region, offering a new perspective to locals and foreigners, bringing people together and serving as a tool for common understanding."
HE the Secretary General of SC Hassan Al Thawadi said: "Ten years of our lives, day in, day out, have been dedicated to this tournament. Personally, I can only look forward with excitement, as well as some nerves, but more importantly, conviction that this will be - without a doubt - the best tournament. We are determined to ensure that the first World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world will set a benchmark in the history of hosting major sporting events."
Qatar is set to host the most compact FIFA World Cup in modern times - one where fans, players and officials will remain in the thick of the action, never too far from a stadium, training site or fan zone. The longest distance between tournament venues will be just 55km, meaning fans may attend two games a day during the early stages of the tournament.
Like the fans, the world's best players will fly into one airport during the tournament, stay at one accommodation and never have far to travel - helping them remain in peak fitness throughout the event.
When it comes to tournament preparations, Qatar is scrutinizing the lessons learned from the FIFA Club World Cup, which was successfully held in the country in December last year.
Nasser Al Khater, Chief Executive Officer, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, said: "With all our infrastructure projects on track, one of our key priorities now is to shape the fan experience in 2022. We are determined to host a tournament which is welcoming to all and family-friendly, and one that shows our country and region in the most positive light. We learned a lot from the Club World Cup across every functional area and will apply the lessons learned in the 2020 edition and in our 2022 planning."
"Test events give us a great opportunity to assess new stadiums, work with authorities, integrate and train the teams. That all provides us with an important insight into planning for the World Cup. And as we move closer, planning becomes more operational. The joint venture team we have in Qatar is increasing in size, several teams have already visited Qatar to inspect training facilities, and we are bringing stakeholders closer - our Commercial Affiliates were in Doha last year, and the main broadcasters earlier this year," added FIFA's Chief Tournaments & Events Officer and FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC (Q22) Managing Director, Colin Smith.
In addition to the continuous preparations to host the World Cup, Qatar has made major strides in other areas - particularly in relation to workers' rights. The SC has implemented a vast range of reforms to benefit workers on FIFA World Cup infrastructure projects. Workers have benefitted from regular site inspections and audits, the implementation of forums to allow grievances to be heard and rectified - plus a number of innovative projects related to nutrition, wellbeing and health and safety. In addition, the SC has worked with contractors to repay more than $25 million to workers who were forced to pay illegal recruitment fees in their home countries - irrespective of whether there is a paper trail or not.
The SC is also managing a number of legacy projects for the benefit of Qatar, the Middle East and the world. Generation Amazing, which works with disadvantaged communities to teach key life skills through football, has already positively affected the lives of more than half a million people in ten countries. The Josoor Institute is responsible for boosting the sporting and event industries in Qatar and the region by training professionals in both fields, while the innovation award, Challenge 22, has inspired entrepreneurs to contribute ideas which will support the delivery of Qatar's World Cup and boost the regional economy.
(News source: QNA, cover image credit: Alkass International Cup)
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