Qatar in spotlight as Arab world's best teams compete for ti...| MENAFN.COM

Saturday, 22 January 2022 05:46 GMT

Qatar in spotlight as Arab world's best teams compete for title


(MENAFN- The Peninsula) #Arab Cup 2021

Doha: All eyes will be on Qatar as the inaugural FIFA Arab Cup 2021 kicks off today, with four state-of-the-art stadiums playing host to the opening day's matches. While Arab world's best 16 teams and their fans will be hoping for the coveted trophy, football fraternity from all over the globe will be glancing at Qatar's preparations for next year's FIFA World Cup – the first in the Middle East and the Arab world.

A lot has been said about the compact nature of the FIFA World Cup, and the Arab Cup – dubbed the precursor of Qatar 2022 – will provide the first“ultimate live experience” to football fans as well as the other stakeholders, who can attend more than one match due to close proximity of stadiums from one-another. 

With almost a year left in the FIFA showpiece, Qatar will showcase six of its eight World Cup venues – Al Bayt, Al Thumama, Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Stadium 974 (Ras Abu Aboud), Education City and Al Janoub stadiums – during the Arab Cup, which involves 32 matches, with the final scheduled on December 18 – the Qatar National Day.

The Al Bayt Stadium – hosting the Group A match between Qatar and Bahrain – and Stadium 974, which will stage Group B game between the UAE and Syria – will be inaugurated today. 
A total of 23 Arab teams were involved in the tournament, with seven of them being eliminated following a week-long qualifying tournament, held earlier this year in Qatar. The rest of the 16 teams – divided into four groups – will be looking to enter the quarter-finals.

“Through football, this tournament will unite over 450 million people from across the region, and we are confident that the FIFA Arab Cup will help to build excitement across the region as we edge ever nearer to hosting the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world in 2022,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said when the event was launched. 

It is the first ever Arab Cup being held under the FIFA banner and the Local Organising Committee has completed all arrangements to deliver a blockbuster event, which also includes multiple activities for fans at several zones. 

Matches are expected to be held in front of packed stadiums as the organsiers have witnessed huge demand of tickets from fans during the sales online and at counters throughout the country.

The tournament's opening game between hosts Qatar and Bahrain today at 60,000-capacity Al Bayt Stadium will see full attendance as all the tickets have been sold out, according to organisers.

The event is being held by following the COVID-19 protocols. Qatar has gained huge experience of hosting major events safely in the last two years during the pandemic.

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