Qatar, host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, says hosting the FIFA Clubs World Cup will be a great test of the Gulf nation's preparedness for FIFA's biggest tournament and has thus agreed to allow alcohol to be served at certain areas when it opens up to the world for the 2019, 2020 FIFA Club World Cup as prelude to the Mundial.
The agreement comes after Qatar, a strong Muslim-nation, was awarded the right to host the 2019 and 2020 Club World Cup by football's world governing body, FIFA at its 10th Executive Council meeting in Paris, on Monday.
“Alcohol will be available in certain areas,” Qatar World Cup Local Organizing Committee Chairman, Hassan Al-Thawadi, said after the FIFA Council meeting in Paris.
“The details of it operationally, how it’s going to work out, all that stuff will be put in place and we will be announcing it in due course.
The Khalifa Stadium will host the Club World Cup and the 2022 FIFA World Cup
“It is a great test event so we will definitely try to utilize as much as possible, all the different facets of hosting a World Cup,” Al-Thawadi said.
“We will have fan zones available for the Club World Cup, so it will be a great opportunity for us to put in place some of the plans we have for the World Cup already to get lessons learnt from it.”
In agreeing to award the Club World Cup to Qatar, FIFA said it was to access at first hand, how the switch of the World Cup calendar for the 2022 World Cup from the June-July date to the December schedule, ostensibly to deal with the soaring heat in the Middle East around that time, will be like.
FIFA Secretary General, Fatma Samoura with members of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Committee
A release from FIFA following the Executive Council decision said:
"The upcoming editions of the seven-team competition will serve as valuable test events in the build-up to the FIFA World Cup 2022, even more so since their timing – usually around early December – corresponds with that of the next FIFA World Cup, allowing for testing under similar climatic conditions."
With FIFA having temporarily shelved the idea to increase the number of teams for the 2022 World Cup from 32 to 48, FIFA will also spend some time during the meeting to discuss Qatar's preparations so far.
That comes as a relief to Qatar, which has invested billions in infrastructure and untold amounts of national pride in hosting the first World Cup in the Arab world.
The first 48-team World Cup will be the one awarded to the United States, Mexico and Canada in 2026.
Meanwhile, the Local Organising Committee of Qatar 2022 World Cup is keen to show the world how preparations is progressing steadily, and has held a media tour and seminar for journalists.
As part of the seminar and tour, the country on May 8, opened its first metro line, three years before ahead of the date to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The trains, which boast aeroplane-style seats, will run across the capital Doha, mainly underground. The full metro network will consist of three lines spanning 37 stations and is expected to reach completion by 2020, covering more than 70 kilometres (43.5 miles).
The Doha Metro lines have started operating ahead of the 2022 World Cup
Commuters on the Doha Metro line