FIFA boss Infantino impressed with World Cup preparations in Qatar

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 an Arab tent.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino participates in a friendly match at Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

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.

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.

“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 Infantino.

“Al Bayt Stadium is incredible: a true football stadium. It is breathing football and has this local touch. The tented shape makes it truly unique, while the Arab patterns used in the ceilings above the stands are just beautiful. I am speechless.”

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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 been inaugurated and are fully operational, with three others – Al Bayt, Al Rayyan and Al Thumama – in the final stages of construction.

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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 in reality, it is even more impressive. Qatar has been able to continue to advance during the last six months when 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 Infantino.

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