Qatar will be hosting the Middle East’s first FIFA World Cup this year.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has expressed confidence in the success of the Qatar World Cup, describing it as a “child going to Disneyland for the first time and seeing the attractions and the toys.”
Speaking in Costa Rica after Spain clinched the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup 2022 title, Infantino addressed several topics of the upcoming winter tournament.
He also said the vote to move Qatar’s World Cup date by one day came out of respect for the history of the FIFA games, Infantino said.
The history of curtain-raising hosts began in 2006, as hosting nations were entitled to play the tournament’s opening match.
The date change was supported by South American football body CONMEBOL and Qatar and Ecuador’s national football federations.
Additionally, airlines and sponsors agreed on shifting the tournament one day earlier since it provided high viewership prospects from audiences worldwide.
The country will now make its first-ever World Cup debut against the Ecuadorians on November 20 at the 60,000-capacity Al Bayt Stadium.
As Qatar partners with countries to ensure a safe tournament, Infantino emphasised that security will be “very strict.”
“Fans from all countries will stay in the same city, not just fans from the two countries playing a match one day, everyone will be there all the time. This makes the security issue even more important,” FIFA’s boss said.
Qatar, which is home to 2.8 million residents, is set to draw 1.2 million visitors worldwide.
Infantino added that everyone is welcome to celebrate the extravaganza but warned that there would be consequences for those that cause conflicts at the matches.
“All fans from all over the world are welcome to celebrate, party and watch the matches. But if anyone wants to come and fight or whatever, then of course they are not welcome and strict action will be taken, because the everyone’s safety is a priority.”
The country is currently undergoing its final phase of World Cup preparations.
Qatar has spent a staggering $200bn on infrastructure and has announced that several luxurious hospitality facilities, including entertainment centres, will be opening in time for the November event.