DOHA: Qatar football officials are concerned right now with qualification for the 2018 World Cup finals, but preparations continue apace for the Gulf state’s controversial hosting of the 2022 tournament. Despite continued human rights and trade unions concerns over labor, a Swiss corruption investigation into the awarding of the tournament to the tiny Gulf emirate, switching the tournament from its traditional June and July to November and December because of the desert country’s fierce summer, and a drop in oil prices hitting the country’s energyreliant economy, Qatar remains on schedule to host football’s biggest tournament.
This week, a senior official from the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the group overseeing the organization of the tournament, told Arabic language daily Al Watan that all projects for 2022 will be delivered on time. “Work on the Qatar 2022 projects is going full swing,” said executive director, Ali Ghanim Al-Kuwari. “All the projects are in an advanced stage of design and implementation.” FIFA is set to make a final decision on the number of stadiums to be used in 2022 by the end of this year, but it is widely expected to be eight.
Earlier this summer, Jurgen Muller, FIFA’s head of planning and infrastructure, told a Doha conference that Qatar’s infrastructure and stadium projects were “well on track”. Of the eight stadiums, all but one-Al Bayt-are located in the capital Doha or its suburbs. Building work has begun on six of the stadiums and the first stadium, Khalifa International, should be completed by the beginning of 2017, said Al-Kuwari. Khalifa will also host the World Athletics Championships in 2019. — Reuters