February 24 – FIFA president Gianni Infantino has spoken of the need for Qatar to leave a lasting legacy when it stages the 2022 World Cup, almost certainly the last with 32 finalists.
In an interview with Qatar’s World Cup organisers, published on their website, Infantino inevitably said all the right things about 2022, even appearing to endorse the fact that the tournament will be held in winter, a highly controversial departure from tradition.
“It is the first time an Arab country will have hosted the tournament and this is important as we live in a time when we need to highlight respect and inclusion,” said Infantino. “It will also take place during a different time of the year which is something else that will make the event very unique.”
Much has been made about how the tiny Gulf state will cope with the influx of thousands of visitors but Infantino says the smallness of the country will be a positive factor thing rather the opposite.
“We know everything will be located very closely together and to have the furthest stadiums situated no more than 60 kilometres apart is quite something. Normally a World Cup city would only have matches every three or four days. In 2022 there will be games in a World Cup country the size of a city every day and people will enjoy this concept.”
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