It’s final: 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar to feature 32 teams

الفيفا: مونديال قطر سيقام بين 32 منتخباً ولن يتم توسيعه

DOHA: Governing body FIFA yesterday announced that the 2022 World Cup will feature 32 teams, ending a long raging debate whether Qatar would be asked to host 48 teams.

Qatar, which opened its second multi-purpose World Cup venue Al Janoub Stadium by hosting the Amir Cup final on May 16, is rapidly completing its preparation to host 32 teams for the 2022 edition.

Yesterday’s statement by FIFA means the 48-team concept will be officially launched at the 2026 World Cup to be jointly held in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

In a statement posted on www.fifa.com, FIFA yesterday said: “In line with the conclusions of the feasibility study approved by the FIFA Council at its last meeting, FIFA and Qatar have jointly explored all possibilities to increase the number of participant teams from 32 to 48 teams by involving neighbouring countries at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. Following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process with the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders, it was concluded that under the current circumstances such a proposal could not be made now.”

The statement added: “Additionally, FIFA and Qatar have once again explored the feasibility of Qatar hosting a 48-team tournament by in particular lowering certain key FIFA requirements. A joint analysis, in this respect, concluded that due to the advanced stage of preparations and the need for a detailed assessment of the potential logistical impact on the host country, more time would be required and a decision could not be taken before the deadline of June. It was therefore decided not to further pursue this option.”

FIFA concluded the statement by saying: “The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ will therefore remain as originally planned with 32 teams and no proposal will be submitted at the next FIFA Congress on 5 June.”

Last week’s opening of Al Janoub Stadium – which can house 40,000 football fans – was another feather in Qatar’s cap as it races to complete six more venues before the FIFA World Cup is staged from Nov 21 to Dec 18 in 2022.

Two years ago, Qatar opened the iconic Khalifa International Stadium by staging the Amir Cup final between Al Sadd and Al Rayyan. In just two years, Qatar has completed two state-of-the-art football venues that will host 2022 World Cup matches.

Currently Al Bayt Stadium – Al Khor City, Al Rayyan Stadium, Al Thumama Stadium, Education City Stadium, Ras Abu Aboud Stadium and Lusail Stadium – proposed venue for the 2022 FIFA World Cup final – are in various stages of completion.

FIFA President Gianni Ifantino, who was present at the opening ceremony of Al Janoub Stadium last Friday, said during an interview in October last year: “The (Al Janoub) Stadium here is very impressive. When you enter here you can immediately feel how imposing it is, and you can see the progress which is being made here four years before kick-off.”

Infantino sounded confident when he the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar had the potential to break down cultural stereotypes and bring people from all walks of life together through football.

“I think this World Cup is extremely important, not only for Qatar but for the whole region – a region that has a passion for football and is investing a lot in the game,” Infantino said at the time. “This World Cup is a unique opportunity – a chance to show the world what this region can offer; for football, but also for anybody in the world to come and visit a beautiful place, learn about a new culture and meet new people.

“In this world, especially in the current climate, it is very much needed that we open our doors and discover new places,” Infantino added.

أكد الاتحاد الدولي لكرة القدم “فيفا” اليوم، أن نهائيات كأس العالم عام 2022 في دولة قطر ستقام بمشاركة 32 منتخبا كما كان مقررا لها، متخليا بذلك عن التوصية التي أقرها في مارس الماضي برفع العدد إلى 48 منتخبا.

وقال الاتحاد ، في بيان نشره على موقعه الرسمي ،” إنه بحث مع دولة قطر موضوع إمكانية زيادة عدد المنتخبات بما يشمل استضافة مباريات في دول مجاورة، لكن بعد عملية استشارة شاملة ومعمقة وبمشاركة جميع أصحاب المصلحة المعنيين تم التوصل إلى خلاصة أنه في ظل الظروف الحالية، لم يكن في الإمكان تنفيذ هذا الاقتراح حاليا، وبناء عليه فإن مونديال قطر سيبقى كما كان مخططا له مع 32 منتخبا”.

وأضاف “أن الـ/فيفا/ وقطر استكشفا مرة أخرى جدوى استضافة دولة قطر لبطولة مكونة من 48 فريقا عن طريق خفض بعض المتطلبات التي تفرضها الفيفا، إلا أن هذا الاستكشاف خلص إلى انه بسبب المرحلة المتقدمة من الاستعدادات والحاجة إلى تقييم مفصل للتأثير اللوجستي المحتمل على البلد المضيف، فإن الأمر سيتطلب مزيدا من الوقت ولا يمكن اتخاذ قرار قبل الموعد النهائي في الخامس من يونيو المقبل، ولذلك تقرر عدم متابعة هذا الخيار”.

ومن المقرر أن تستضيف دولة قطر نهائيات كأس العالم لكرة القدم للمرة الأولى في منطقة الشرق الأوسط خلال الفترة من 21 نوفمبر وحتى 18 ديسمبر عام 2022.

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