Nasser Al-Khater: Qatar hosting AFC Champions League is good preparation for 2022
Qatar has offered up its World Cup stadiums to host the remainder of the AFC Champions League West Region games after the Covid-19 stoppage.
Nasser Al-Khater, Chief Executive Officer of the FIFA World Cup 2022, has said that the Qatar Football Association’s offer to host the remainder of the 2020 AFC West Region group stage will serve as a perfect testing ground for the World Cup stadiums that have already been completed ahead of the tournament in two years’ time. The AFC Champions League, which was halted due to the global coronavirus pandemic, restarted in Qatar on 14 September and will be played in three World Cup host stadiums – the Al-Khalifa International Stadium, the Al-Janoub Stadium and the Education City Stadium – as well as Al-Sadd’s Jassem Bin Hamd Stadium. There will be 39 games in all, with the four-group initial stage being completed and then the knock-out stages for the West Region up to the semi-finals also being staged in Qatar.
Al-Khater also praised the efforts on the part of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy to help get football back underway on a continental level as well as the drastic measures undertaken to ensure the safety of all players and club staff members taking part in the AFC Champions League.
"We have worked from the outset with the Qatar Football Association, the Qatar Stars League, the Health and Interior Ministries and the Asian Football Confederation to ensure that all safety measures are in place so that we can guarantee the safety of everyone involved in the tournament.”
“Without doubt, the AFC Champions League is a prestigious tournament and we are proud to be able to organize this competition as hosts, above all in terms of our commitment to lending the Asian Federation a helping hand at this stage in the history of the tournament as well playing an active role in the safe and gradual return of football activity on a continental level for football fans across the world. It is a shame that is impossible currently to welcome fans back to the stadiums, but we continue to believe that football has the power to bring people together even through their screens, give the extraordinary circumstances the whole world is facing,” Al-Khater added.
Further preparations for Qatar 2022
Al-Khater also stated that the AFC Champions League “is one of the most important sporting events Qatar has ever organized, among other planned events two years ahead of the start of the 2022 World Cup. For us, it is an important test in our preparations to ensure that the stadiums in Qatar are ready to host games for the most important footballing event in the world. We are very eager to test out the innovative cooling systems we have installed in the World Cup host stadiums, which maintain a temperature of between 18 and 24 degrees, which in turn will help fans to feel more comfortable during a period of the year when the high summer temperatures have not fully abated. It will also be a World Cup marked by the very short distances between the stadiums, which will serve to lessen the time needed to travel between training facilities and the grounds themselves meaning that a team can remain in one base for the entirety of the tournament.
Al-Khater also noted that the teams participating in the 2020 AFC Champions League will benefit from the innovations being brought in for the World Cup. “They will be hosted in training complexes designed for the 2022 World Cup so the teams participating in the AFC Champions League will be able to train and play in stadiums that meet the world-class standards laid out by FIFA.”