Doha, Asharq Al-Awsat—Nasser Al-Khater, communications and marketing director of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, said on Tuesday that Qatar will press on with plans to install air conditioning systems in all 12 football stadiums to be built for the 2022 Football World Cup.
He said the plans would go ahead despite the possibility that FIFA may move the tournament to winter, and that the plans will include the 45 stadiums designated for training.
Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat in Doha, Khater said: “Cooled stadiums will not only benefit international teams, but will also be used in the Qatari league, where some of the games are played in hot conditions. The infrastructure will be ready by 2022, including hotels, metro links, [a] new airport and other amenities.”
Khater added: “The 2021 Confederations Cup…one year before the historic World Cup, will be an opportunity to test readiness for the tournament and we are confident of success, because we are moving in a determined, firm and organized manner in order to conclude all projects planned by the government for the world tournament. “We made a promise to FIFA to build 90,000 hotel rooms, as well as a promise to build eight to 12 stadiums of international standards.”
Khater admitted that the current stadiums in Qatar did not meet FIFA’s standards, including Khalifa International Stadium and Al-Rayyan Stadium, but said that both will be extended and renovated, while all others will meet international standards.
Khater said the media storm created by the British press about employment conditions among construction workers and the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar only made the authorities more determined to organize a successful tournament. He said South Africa and China had both faced criticism in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, but both succeeded, and the same will happen in Qatar.
Khater refused to reveal the budget which Qatar has allocated for the 2022 World Cup project, and said there were still some tenders related to the project which had not been awarded, making it difficult to forecast the total cost at this stage.
Khater declined to comment on remarks by FIFA President Joseph Blatter that Germany, England and France played a role in awarding the World Cup to Qatar.
He did, however, respond to a suggestion that Qatar had no voice on FIFA’s executive committee following the resignation of former president of Asian Football Federation Mohamed Bin Hammam, a Qatari, by saying that Qatar was still backed by the Bahraini Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, who remains a member.
Khater said that Qatar will launch a center for excellence in sports next week, at an international conference hosted by Doha for sports administrators, who will later be able to manage major events and venues.
Khater concluded his comments to Asharq Al-Awsat by pointing out that a European tournament would be held in the country in the New Year, which he claimed demonstrated that there was a real desire to host the top clubs and international teams in Qatar to show the country’s ability to host major events.