FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™
Eleven years after Qatar was awarded the rights to host the 2022 edition of the FIFA World Cup™, the countdown to the tournament has entered its final year – with many milestone moments reached during 2021.
Countdown clock unveiled
On 21 November 2021, the one-year-to-go anniversary until the start of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 was marked with a special ceremony in Qatar. The tournament will be like no other, and the spectacular ceremony on the Corniche waterfront across from the West Bay skyline gave a taste of the spectacular event to come.
Football fans worldwide were also invited to “Join the Beat” virtually and celebrate the milestone, as the official countdown clock, powered by Hublot, was revealed. The 30-minute launch ceremony also featured a drone show, special guests and other surprises, ramping up the anticipation as the first FIFA World Cup to be held in the Middle East and Arab world emerges over the horizon.
Speaking at the event, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said:
“I’ve been involved in the organisation of sports events for the past few decades, and I’ve never witnessed anything like what is happening here. Everything is ready, the venues will be fantastic. The experience for the fans will be great.”
“The world will discover a country and a whole region. Qatar, the Gulf region, the Middle East, the Arab world. A place where people meet and come together. This is what football is all about, this is about what this part of the world and its culture is all about, and the world will realise that."
“This is a unique and special moment for Qatar as the host country. After 11 years of hard work and lasting progress, we are well on the way towards delivering the first World Cup in our region, one that will leave a profound legacy for Qatar, the region and the entire world.”
Three more stadiums inaugurated
The stunning Al Bayt Stadium – which will host the first match of the FIFA World Cup 2022 – was unveiled on the opening day of the FIFA Arab Cup. The 60,000-capacity venue, which was designed to resemble the tents formerly used by nomadic people in the Gulf region, hosted Qatar’s 1-0 victory against Bahrain as the 16-team tournament got off to an exciting start.
Straight after Al Bayt’s inauguration, Stadium 974 also hosted its first game. The arena, which is made primarily from shipping containers and can seat 40,000, staged the United Arab Emirates’ 2-1 victory against Syria. Stadium 974 was named after the number of shipping containers used in its construction. It is also Qatar’s international dialling code.
“The world will discover a country and a whole region. Qatar, the Gulf region, the Middle East, the Arab world. A place where people meet and come together.”
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: “Al Bayt is the house where everyone is uniting, where everyone is coming together. It is a symbol for what the World Cup represents. The Arab Cup represents today what the World Cup will represent next year of people coming together, of people being united from all over the world. So, to have games in such a beautiful stadium, in such a symbolic stadium, is something that we have to cherish and that will be crucial for the success of the World Cup.”
In October 2021, another FIFA World Cup milestone was reached as Al Thumama Stadium became the sixth tournament-ready venue to be inaugurated when it hosted the Amir Cup final, which was won by Al Sadd. The stadium followed Khalifa International, Al Janoub, Education City, Ahmad Bin Ali and Al Bayt in being declared ready to host matches during the 22ⁿᵈ edition of the FIFA World Cup.
This leaves just one FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 venue to be inaugurated – Lusail Stadium. The main construction work was completed in 2021 and the stadium was due to open its doors to the public in early 2022.