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Qatar to stage FIFA Arab Cup as World Cup 2022 test event

Qatar to stage FIFA Arab Cup as World Cup 2022 test event
November 25, 2020

World football governing body FIFA has confirmed that Qatar will host 22 national teams from the Arab region in a tournament that will serve as the final test for preparations for the 2022 World Cup.

With the Qatar Football Association (QFA) having first announced that it would host a pan-Arab tournament back in June, FIFA President Gianni Infantino confirmed that the FIFA Arab Cup would be held in December next year plan during a visit yesterday to Doha’s Lusail Stadium, which will stage the World Cup final in 2022.

Set to run from 1st to 18th December next year, the competition will involve the host nation, along with teams from Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Announcing that he expects the regional tournament to unite millions of football fans from across the Middle East and Arab world, President Infantino stated “we are delighted that all 22 teams from across the Arab world have agreed to take part in the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, which will be held in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 stadiums, and we are looking forward to seeing the region’s best teams battle it out to see which nation will become champion.

“Through football, this tournament will unite over 450 million people from across the region, and we are confident that the FIFA Arab Cup will help to build excitement across the region as we edge ever nearer to hosting the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world in 2022.”

QFA President, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Ahmed Al Thani, added “Qatar looks forward to welcoming 22 Arab national teams and their fans, and giving them the opportunity to be one of the select teams that will experience what Qatar has prepared to host the FIFA World Cup.

“The tournament will give our national team the chance to enhance their preparations ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, by going up against some of the best teams in the region.”

Set to run from 1st to 18th December next year, the competition will involve the host nation, along with teams from Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Beyond an initial qualifying stage, 16 teams will take part in a final stage will be split into four groups, with the top two from each qualifying for the quarter-finals.

A total of 32 matches will be held over 18 days.

Seen as a vital opportunity to test operations and facilities ahead of Qatar 2022, the tournament will take place in the same timeslot as the FIFA World Cup. The finals of both the FIFA Arab Cup and FIFA World Cup will take place exactly one year apart - each on 18th December, Qatar National Day, which is a public holiday.

Qatar 2022 Chief Executive Nasser Al Khater last month revealed that construction work on projects for the World Cup was nearing 90% completion, with focus beginning to turn to planning and fan experience for the tournament.

Images: Doha’s Lusail Stadium will stage the final of the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup (top) and a Qatar supporter (below, courtesy of FIFA).

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