With Russia 2018 World Cup coming to an end, eyes are turning towards Qatar which will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup as the first Gulf, Arab and Mideast country to win the honour of organising the global event, held every four years.
Ahead of the conclusion of Russia world Cup, President of the International Federation for Football Associations (FIFA) Gianni Infantino announced that Qatar 2022 World Cup will be held from November 21 to December 18, noting that leagues around the world have been already informed about the dates to adapt.
Eight years ago, Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Since then, it has started preparing, organising and planning.
This dream was launched when the people of Qatar believed in their capabilities and readiness to accept the challenge. Organising the World Cup is even harder than getting the title; it brings great benefit to the host country and equal fame.
The bidding procedure to host the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups began in January 2009. Initially, 11 bids were made for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but Mexico later withdrew from proceedings, and Indonesia’s bid was rejected by FIFA. There were four European bids to host the 2018 World Cup: England, Russia, Spain and Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands.
For the 2022 World Cup, FIFA received five bids from non-European continents because the conditions of FIFA forced the European countries to get out of the competition as the country expected to win the 2018 event is European, and two successive championships cannot be held in the same continent.
At the end, the competition was between five countries - Qatar, the United States, South Korea, Japan and Australia. They were difficult moments for all Arabs, before Qatar was announced the host of the 2022 World Cup.
Qatar fought hard and carried the flag of the Arabs and the Middle East region which have never before won the bid. Morocco failed in 2003, followed by Egypt in 2006 and 2010.
Over the past years, Qatar has worked hard to prove to the whole world that it is able to organise the largest sports events of all kinds which not only football.
Doha has an impressive record of hosting major tournaments. It has been organising major events since 1993 when Boris Becker and Steffi Graf of Germany participated in Qatar Open.
In 1995, Doha hosted the FIFA World Youth Championship which witnessed the birth of talented Ortega and Real Madrid’s historic back-up Salgado and several others.
Doha has also been able to organise the Commercial Bank Masters for Golf since 1998, in addition to holding tennis tournaments, Squash, Golf, Formula 1, MotoGP besides others.
Qatar had the honour to organise the AFC Asian Cup in 2011, as well as World Clasico between Brazil and England and then between Brazil and Argentina, as the only Middle East country.
Qatar has repeatedly promised to win FIFA’s confidence in organising a historic World Cup, an event in which it will present creative innovations aimed at fuelling football’s further growth in Arab countries, which will become the biggest beneficiaries of holding the event in the Middle East.
Qatar’s bid impressed everyone, as the 2022 World Cup focused on the sports facilities which reflect the country’s special character by mixing modernity with its heritage. This resulted in designs for stadiums, hotels and roads that represent a combination of the charm of the East and the West. Visitors to the country will enjoy more than football matches; they will see stunning playgrounds such as Lusail Stadium which will host the opening and closing ceremonies, and can accommodate more than 86,000 people.
Qatar’s victory was based on sound planning, a firm will and learning from others’ mistakes. Doha has challenged all conditions, including the small space and climate, and worked on marketing its most important features, using the leading means of technology and the latest techniques of solar power, in order to create the ideal conditions for players and fans.
Despite the small size of Qatar, its geographical location will be an advantage unlike many big countries with large distances that organised the tournament in the past - such as South Africa, South Korea, Japan, Chile, Argentina and Mexico.
The proximity of stadium sites is one of the most important factors that distinguishes Qatar World Cup. It will make it easier for the fans to attend more than one game a day, something that has never happened before.
Doha is seeking to develop football in the Middle East. After the end of the 2022 World Cup, Qatar will give the upper parts of the stadiums (nine stadiums) to developing countries that suffer from a lack of sports infrastructure. The remaining parts of the stadiums will remain in Qatar to accommodate up to 25,000 spectators.
Qatar enjoys ideal weather conditions in the winter, making it a favourite hub for top European clubs, such as Bayern Munich and Paris St Germain, to hold their winter camps in Doha to escape the bitter cold on the European continent. Doha is also a unique tourist destination for Asian and African clubs and teams. It is also the destination for high-caliber names and stars for recovery of injuries thanks the Qatari high-quality sporting facilities.
Qatar 2022 bid included the use of sustainable technologies, cooling systems in playgrounds, training areas and spectators’ areas, which were all implemented and launched in Khalifa International Stadium five years ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Observers considered it a clear commitment from Doha to organising an unprecedented version in the history of the World Cup.
Qatar has embarked on a series of projects, including hotels, airports, ports, stadiums, hospitals, highways, transportation and railways to accommodate hundreds of thousands of fans expected to arrive in Doha during the World Cup.
Al Wakrah and Al Bayt stadiums will be completed before the end of 2018, while other stadiums (Al Thumama, Al Rayyan, Qatar Foundation, Ras Abu Aboud and Lusail) will be finished in 2020, two years before Qatar World Cup.
Since June 5, 2017 Qatar has been subjected to an illegal siege imposed by its neighbours, faced baseless charges, distorted facts, and negative campaigns aimed at undermining its efforts. But Doha has emerged victorious.
The FIFA has always affirmed that the accusations against Doha are baseless and that those campaigns are just smoke in the air. The FIFA has affirmed on more than one occasion that the preparations for Qatar 2022 World Cup are continuing and are being implemented.
Qatar continues to accomplish remarkable achievements, and is continuing with its plans to construct World Cup facilities. In august 2017, Doha inaugurated Al Thumama Stadium, the 40,000-seat stadium will host 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar matches through to the quarter-finals. Its design represents the Gahfiya, a traditional woven cap worn by men across the Arab world and beyond.
In November 2017, Qatar inaugurated Ras Abu Aboud Stadium which was constructed using shipping containers, removable seats and other modular building blocks. Its parts will be used in other sporting or non-sporting projects, setting a new standard in sustainability and introducing bold new ideas in tournament legacy planning.
In October 2017, Qatar signed 36 agreements to protect workers with countries whose citizens represent large proportions of the workforce in Qatar.
In November 2017, the ILO closed a “complaint” against Qatar after the government passed labour protection legislation and pledged further reforms and technical cooperation with the UN organisation through a three-year comprehensive programme.
Also in November 2017, Qatar imposed a minimum wage as part of its commitment to implement its promises to the international community, as well as the adoption of a law regulating the entry and exit of expatriates in December 2016.
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