Qatar is hosting a number of major football events as the country fine-tunes to stage the next year’s FIFA World Cup – the first in the Middle East and the Arab World – despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Time and again, Qatar is showing its readiness to host the blockbuster FIFA World Cup, to be held from November 21 to December 18 next year. Doha is currently playing host to the Group E matches of Joint Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.
The matches are being played at the air-conditioned Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium and a crowd attendance of 30% of the stadium capacity is allowed to attend the matches.
Qatar are leading the group, with Oman being their challengers in a battle for the top spot. Afghanistan, India, and Bangladesh are the other participating teams. Asian Football Confederation (AFC) picked Doha as centralised venue for the matches after Qatar hosted the games of the last edition of the AFC Champions League in a befitting manner. The players and all those involved are confined to a full bio-bubble as the local organisers are leaving no stone unturned to protect the health of all stakeholders.
After the Joint Asian Qualifiers, qualifying matches of the inaugural FIFA Arab Cup will also be played in Qatar from June 19 to 25. The highly-anticipated tournament, dubbed the main test event for the World Cup – will be held from November 30 to December 18. A total of 23 Arab nations will be involved in the competition including the 14 teams, which will feature in the qualifying stage. Seven teams will advance to join nine top-ranked teams to complete 16-side main stage.
Also, Qatar hosted the CAF Super Cup final successfully on May 28, reaching another milestone towards its build up for hosting the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Egypt’s Al Ahly, winners of the 2019-2020 Total CAF Champions League, lifted the crown for the seventh time after defeating winners of the 2019-2020 Total CAF Confederation Cup, Renaissance Sportive de Berkane (Morocco) at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium. President of Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) H E Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani also attended final. It was the third successive CAF Super Cup final which was staged in Qatar.
The same day, Doha also hosted the second meet of the Diamond League 2021 in which over 200 athletes including many World and Olympic champions participated. By organising the world class events in a memorable fashion, Qatar is not just showing readiness to host the World Cup, the State is also reaffirming its status as hub of sports of the region.