FIFA president Gianni Infantino asks Qatar to one-up last World Cup; says 2018 tournament in Russia was 'best ever'
Qatar is set to host the tournament in November and December, after FIFA agreed to move it amid concerns over the desert country's fierce summer heat, of up to 50 degrees Celsius.
Doha: FIFA president Gianni Infantino has warned Qatar that the first World Cup in the Middle East — which begins in four years on 21 November — has to be better than Russia.
"The Russian World Cup was the best ever, and the World Cup in 2022 has to be even better," said Infantino in a joint statement issued with Qatar's tournament organisers, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy.
The statement reveals that Qatar is spending $6.5 billion on building or refurbishing eight stadiums for the tournament. Qatar has said it is spending around $500 million a week on preparations for the World Cup.
The Gulf state is set to host the first tournament in November and December, after FIFA agreed to move the tournament amid concerns over the desert country's fierce summer heat, where temperatures can reach 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit).
"It will be a momentous occasion for the teams participating, the fans watching, and for the whole Arab world, which is eagerly anticipating hosting the showpiece event of the most popular sport in the world for the first time ever," said Hassan al-Thawadi, head of the Supreme Committee.
FIFA has floated the idea of 48 teams at the 2022 World Cup, but is likely to be contested by 32 sides only.
The group of junior players and their coaches and families had tried to escape the country last month but a devastating bomb attack at Kabul airport left them stranded, someone close to the team told AFP.
On Wednesday, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said the extensive shake-up would cut out "too many meaningless matches".
USSF President Cindy Parlow Cone sent an open letter on Friday, which called for the men’s national team to allow the USSF to reallocate a portion of FIFA’s World Cup payments to the federation to the women’s team.