Report by Noor Mohammed , Bureau Chief ( Qatar )
The bell is set for the next FIFA world Cup to be held in Doha, State of Qatar. FIFA president Gianni Infantino confirmed the dates for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, saying it will be played from November 2018 which means everyone has to wait more than four years for the next World Cup. It is about four years and four months, to be more precise. Addressing a press conference in Moscow, Infantino said the 2022 tournament will begin on November 21 and continue until December 18.
The tournament to be held within the latitude of the summer for the first time, considering the climate of the host nation during winter, when it is extreme heat in Qatar. Therefore, this will be the first winter World Cup in the Northern Hemisphere, with all World Cups played in June and July in the Southern Hemisphere being during their winter season, just like Brazil in 2014. The new dates clash with the normal domestic schedules for a number of European club sides. “Leagues around the world have been informed already,” he said. “Of course, they will have to adapt their dates so that they can fit in and dovetail with the World Cup.”
“I think this is the right decision in November and December, the players are going to be in tip-top shape for the World Cup because it is the beginning of the season”. Meanwhile, Reuters on Friday reported that Infantino did not give any new information on the whether the first 48-team tournament would be in Qatar in 2022 instead of 2026 as originally planned.
“First, we will discuss with the Qataris and then with the FIFA Council and stakeholders and decide calmly what the decision is,” he said. “For the moment, we have a World Cup with 32 teams,” he added. Recently, the World Cup organizers in Qatar had said they were open to a 48-team event in principle if desired by FIFA. “I think it’s all in the format. If the format is done right, it could actually be an edition that is exciting,” Nasser al-Khater, assistant secretary-general said.
Taking about Video assistant referees (VAR) technology, the president of FIFA said that the VAR system had made a successful start at the World Cup, through the current edition in Russia, and helped correct the mistakes made by the referees. “VAR is not changing football, VAR is cleaning football, making football more honest, more transparent,” he said.
Winning the bid in 2010, Qatar has been undergoing a complete infrastructural makeover to cater to a global audience. Many new stadiums are in the making to accommodate a large number of spectators from all over the world. For the ease and comfort of both spectators and players, air conditioning units will be installed across all stadiums. A number of existing stadiums will be developed to accommodate a larger number of spectators than is possible at present. This will be made possible by installing modular seats, which can be removed or retained after the 2022 World Cup tournament. Shaded walkways, and new metro and rail links will make matchday journeys smooth, comfortable and environmentally friendly.