Qatar 2022 chief executive Nasser Al Khater has revealed that construction work on projects for the FIFA World Cup is nearing 90 per cent completion, with focus beginning to turn to planning and fan experience for the national team tournament.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino visited Qatar this week and took part in a seven-a-side match at Al Bayt Stadium, the 60,000-seat venue that will host the opening match of the 2022 World Cup.
Al Bayt Stadium is one of eight stadiums that will be used for the World Cup and is scheduled to host six group-stage matches, one Round of 16 game, a quarter-final and a semi-final. The schedule for the tournament was confirmed in July, with the final to take place at the 80,000-seat Lusail Stadium.
So far, three stadiums have been completed, with Education City Stadium being inaugurated in June to join the redeveloped Khalifa International Stadium and the new Al Janoub Stadium. Al Bayt Stadium will be inaugurated in the coming months, with Al Rayyan Stadium and Al Thumama Stadium also in the final stages of construction.
Qatar 2022 said that all eight venues will be finished “well in advance of the tournament” and Al Khater said that work is progressing well.
“When it comes to World Cup infrastructure, we’re in a great position, with construction nearing 90 per cent completion across all projects,” he said. “At this point on the road to 2022, our focus is now shifting from delivering infrastructure to refining and optimising the detailed operational planning and fan experience for the tournament.
“We are also now significantly stepping up our promotion of the tournament to ensure as many people as possible have the opportunity to attend and enjoy this unique World Cup.”
Al Bayt Stadium has been designed to resemble a traditional Arab tent and Infantino described the venue as “incredible”.
Infantino added: “I am very pleased with Qatar’s progress ahead of the tournament. We have seen the plans, but when you see the reality, it is even more impressive. Qatar has been able to continue to advance during the last six months while the world stood still – from infrastructure preparations to important developments such as the recent labour reforms announced by the government. If I was confident before, now I can say I am even more.”
Qatar’s new labour laws, announced in August, raised the minimum wage by 25 per cent to QAR1,000 (£213/€234/$275) a month. The changes also removed a requirement whereby workers needed permission from their employers to move jobs. The reforms were introduced amid accusations that migrant workers involved in stadium construction are exploited.
Qatar’s World Cup will take place from November 21 to December 18, 2022.
Image: Qatar 2022