- FIFA President Gianni Infantino met tournament organisers at Al Bayt Stadium
- President Infantino played in seven-a-side match at the 60,000-capacity venue
- Al Bayt will host the opening match in 2022
FIFA President Gianni Infantino described preparations for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ as “impressive” during a whistle-stop tour of the country this week.
President Infantino met with tournament organisers and took part in a seven-a-side match at Al Bayt Stadium, a 60,000-capacity venue designed to resemble a traditional Arab tent. The striking arena will be inaugurated in the coming months and has been confirmed as the venue for the opening game of the tournament.
“It is an absolute pleasure to play football at this amazing stadium, where on 21 November 2022, we will kick off the greatest FIFA World Cup ever,” said President Infantino.
“Al Bayt Stadium is incredible: a true football stadium. It has a real football feel and a local touch. The tented shape makes it truly unique, and the Arabic patterns in the roof are just beautiful. I am speechless.”
Preparations for Qatar 2022 have continued despite the pandemic following the implementation of stringent health and safety protocols to protect workers from COVID-19. Khalifa International, Al Janoub and Education City stadiums have all been inaugurated and are fully operational, with three others – Al Bayt, Al Rayyan and Al Thumama – in the final stages of construction. All eight venues will be completed well in advance of the tournament.
“I am very pleased with Qatar’s progress ahead of the tournament. We have seen the plans, but when you see the reality, it is even more impressive. Qatar has been able to continue to advance during the last six months while the world stood still – from infrastructure preparations to important developments such as the recent labour reforms announced by the government. If I was confident before, now I can say I am even more,” added President Infantino.
“In 2022, everything will be close by and fans from all nationalities will have the opportunity to gather in the same public areas and enjoy Qatar’s mild temperatures at this time of the year. It’s a World Cup like no other was or ever will be.”
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