Qatar will host a pan-Arab football tournament in November and December 2021 as a test-run, exactly a year ahead of the actual 2022 World Cup, the Soccer Association in Qatar revealed yesterday.
The 22-nation men’s invitational competition will help Qatar in testing key infrastructure ahead of 2022, as the coronavirus crisis has led to limited opportunities for the same.
The Education City Stadium in Qatar was launched on 15th June after some delay, with a virtual inauguration, and is yet to host a public match.
Among the eight grounds that Qatar plans to use for 2022 World Cup, only the new Al-Janoub Stadium, which was unveiled in May 2019 and the refurbished Al Khalifa International venue have been able to host major public fixtures till date.
The Qatar Airways International Cup, a mini-tournament was planned as a warm-up for Euro 2020, and was scheduled for late March, but it had to be cancelled due to Covid-19 crisis.
Despite reporting the first case of death of a worker involved in World Cup construction, apart from 1102 confirmed cases since March, officials have confirmed that 80 percent of the infrastructure is ready.
“It will allow the organizers to use facilities and run operations that are also planned for the subsequent FIFA World Cup 2022. All tournament matches will be played at Qatar 2022 stadiums,” the Qatar Football Association said in its statement.
Apart from using Qatar 2022 stadiums and training sites, the tournament will serve as an opportunity for players, fans and officials to use host country facilities including transportation and accommodation.
However, Qatar is yet to confirm the countries participating in the test tournament.