June 26 – FIFA may have canned the its quadrennial Confederations Cup, the curtain-raiser and test bed held the year before in the World Cup by the host nation, but Qatar will still have the opportunity to give its new facilities a rigorous workout in 2021 with the announcement of a new pan-Arab tournament.
The tournament, to be organised by the Qatar FA and already ratified by FIFA though it will take place outside the international match calendar, will feature 22 invited Arab nations from Africa and Asia and will feature home-based players only.
Dubbed the Arab Mundial, the tournament will be played from December 1 to December 18 at the stadiums built for the 2022 World Cup and across the same dates.
President of the QFA, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Ahmad Al Thani, said: “This is an exciting moment for Qatar and football fans across the region and around the world. This new pan-Arab tournament will see teams from across the region go head-to-head in state-of-the-art FIFA World Cup venues and allow teams and fans to experience Qatar as a tournament host country.
“This tournament marks an important footballing milestone for the country and the region, and everyone involved in delivering it will gain more essential experience ahead of the Qatar World Cup.”
Emphasising the opportunity to test venues, Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Qatar Supreme Committee, said: “This exciting tournament will act as a perfect preparatory event for Qatar ahead of the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world.
“Qatar has hosted many events since it was awarded the World Cup hosting rights back in 2010, but this will be our biggest yet and it will prove essential in utilising facilities and services ahead of 2022. The tournament is also being held at exactly the same time as the World Cup, meaning fans, players and officials will get a taste of what’s to come in 2022.”
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