Qatar 2022, the local organising committee for the country’s staging of the Fifa World Cup, has marked the beginning of the five-year countdown to the event by reiterating a pledge to “host the greatest” edition of the national team football tournament.

Qatar’s World Cup will commence on November 21, 2022, after organisers struck a deal with Fifa, football’s global governing body, to shift the tournament from its traditional June-July dates to the winter in order to avoid the extreme heat of the country’s summer.

Preparations in the country are well underway, with the Khalifa International Stadium (pictured) having already been redeveloped, while the seven other tournament venues are currently under construction.

In addition, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), the body that is overseeing work for the World Cup, has launched various legacy programmes as part of the ongoing preparations.

H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary general of the SC, said: “Every day we’re working to deliver the promises we made in 2010. We remain determined to host the greatest World Cup of all time.

“We know the next five years will be just as challenging – if not more challenging – than the previous seven. However, we are prepared to go the extra mile. For Qatar – and all of us at the SC – this is about much more than football. We want this tournament to break down stereotypes, narrow the world’s cultural divides and bridge the gap between East and West.

“We’ve come a long way and achieved so much in the last seven years. Time and again we’ve delivered when it matters. I’m extremely proud to lead an organisation like the SC and I look forward to continuing this incredible journey.”

Al Thawadi added: “Football has the power to unite and inspire like no other sport. We want our World Cup to be a catalyst for Qatar and the region to realise their full potential.”