The coronavirus changes World Cup 2022 stadium inauguration roadmap
Three World Cup 2022 stadium inaugurations planned for this year - Al-Rayyan, Education City and Al-Bayyt - will be difficult to organise given the coronavirus pandemic.
As the global coronavirus situation worsens day by day it appears clear that changes will be made to the roadmap for the inaugurations of the stadiums that will host the Qatar World Cup 2022, particularly in light of the suspension of most sporting activities, meaning it will be hard to organise the opening of the three stadiums that was planned for this year: Al-Rayyan, Education City and Al-Bayyt. Amidst this general panorama, the International Tournament scheduled to take place from 26 to 30 March, and which would have featured the inauguration of Education City Stadium, has been cancelled. Belgium, Portugal, Croatia and Switzerland were due to take part.
If football is put on hold in Qatar, the same will happen to the inaugurations planned for the final of the Emir’s Cup, and the Club World Cup, which is planned for the end of year with the inauguration of one of the venues for the World Cup 2022. Whether the tournament takes place is still up in the air, given that the participating clubs are yet to be decided and with continental competition suspended it is not clear what will happen.
The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy is studying a range of options for the inaugurations of the grounds, given they are nearly ready to host games. Their opening is to be in line with the time scales agreed by the Committee with FIFA, always with the aim of finishing the stadiums which will host the World Cup 2022 before the end of 2021, meaning they are ready one year before the World Cup gets underway on 21 November 2022.
Where tournaments which were to host the inauguration of stadiums are suspended, the Committee will study alternative options, among them, where the coronavirus pandemic is over and sport restarts, hosting friendly international matches in Qatar, Doha, or organising an international football tournament such as the one planned for last month, and taking advantage of these events to open the World Cup stadiums.