Qatar hopes to attract record Indian fans for 2022 World Cup

With matches being held at convenient timings for the Indian audience, organisers of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar hope to attract a larger Indian audience than the previous edition.

Nasser Al Khater

Nasser Al Khater, CEO of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, also said the nation would welcome Indian football clubs if they wanted to use the facilities.   -  Special Arrangement

The organisers of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar are expecting more Indian eyeballs than during the 2018 edition as the matches will be played at convenient timings for the audience in the country, the CEO Nasser Al Khater said on Wednesday.

Qatar will become the first country in the Middle East to host the mega sporting event, which will kick off from November 21, 2022.

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“It (FIFA World Cup) may not be as gigantic (in India) as the Cricket World Cup but the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia drew broadcast audiences of nearly 300 million in India and this is only going to go further up in 2022,” Khater told PTI.

“In India, majority of matches will kick-off at convenient times. During group stage, the first game will start at 15:30 IST and the last game at 00:30 IST. The second and third matches at 18:30 and 21:30 IST respectively, which will both be consumed by prime time evening broadcast audience in India,” he added.

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Khater said Qatar is committed to deliver an affordable and exciting experience to anyone who visits the country during the World Cup.

“We are committed to delivering an exciting, memorable and affordable FIFA World Cup for everyone visiting in 2022, particularly in light of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the hard times we live in, we will ensure that 2022 remains affordable for everyone,” he said.

Qatar had used cooling systems at FIFA World Cup stadiums during the AFC Champions League matches in September and the top official said that they were ready to share the technology with countries having similar climate.

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“This was driven by several legacy use these venues year-round in the lead up to and after 2022. This was a benefit witnessed firsthand during the AFC Champions League, and a demonstration of how this legacy is taking shape before 2022.

“We are definitely open to sharing our knowledge and expertise when it comes to the cooling technology with any country with a similar climate to Qatar who may benefit from it,” he said.

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He added that Qatar would welcome Indian football clubs if they want to use the facilities.

“Indian clubs are always welcome to Qatar, whether for training or competition, and I am certain that anyone who makes the trip will enjoy world class facilities and our renowned hospitality,” he said.

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