The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will take place from November 21 to December 18, world football’s governing body has confirmed.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino revealed that the dates of the first ever winter World Cup have finally been rubber-stamped as the 2018 tournament draws to its close.
Qatar will be aiming to follow in Russia’s footsteps after the European nation delivered a successful tournament on and off the pitch.
The choice of both host nations was widely criticised when it was announced back in 2010 but Russia has certainly disproved the doubters and Qatar will now be tasked with doing the same in four years’ time.
“For a couple of years I have been saying that this will be the best World Cup ever and today I can say that with conviction – it is the best World Cup ever,” Infantino gushed.
“I would like to thank everyone. The main actors are on the pitch – the players, referees and coaches – but, of course, there are also all those who have worked to make sure everything has worked smoothly.
“A big thank you to the Russia government and Vladimir Putin, the local organising committee, the Russian Football Union, the volunteers, the heart and smile of the World Cup, all those people, more than 100,000 who helped in one capacity or another.
HH The Emir received the #FIFAWorldCup2022 host’s mantle from HE the Russian president! #seeyouin2022 #Qatar2022 pic.twitter.com/7PwBaKZiR0
— Team Qatar (@qatar_olympic) July 15, 2018
“Everyone discovered a beautiful country, a welcoming country, which is keen to show the world that everything that has been said before might not be true.
“A lot of preconceived ideas have been changed because people have seen the true nature of Russia.”
Infantino also revealed he still wants to expand the 2022 FIFA World Cup to 48 teams from 32.
“We will decide whether it’s 48 or 32 teams in the next few months. We must have discussions with the Qataris and then if there is a possibility with the FIFA Council and stakeholders. Then we will decide calmly and quietly what the decision is.
“For now it’s a World Cup with 32 teams but everybody is open-minded and we will have a frank and open debate.”
That debate could include the hosting of matches in other Gulf countries, something that seems unlikely at present given the strained diplomatic relations Qatar currently has with its neighbors.
“I will be happy if it stays at 32 teams as previously established. Qatar could insist on 32,” Infantino said.
“But if everybody comes on board and thinks it might be positive to change to 48 we can have a look. All options will be on the table.
BREAKING: FIFA have announced that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will take place between November 21st and December 18th. pic.twitter.com/1VeXAOuum2
— FourFourTwo ⚽ (@FourFourTwo) July 13, 2018
“Maybe, through Fifa and football, we could bring countries together and allow them to start having dialogue. Football can open up the doors to communication.”
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