FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Friday reiterated that the 2022 football World Cup would be hosted by Qatar as planned.
Addressing a press conference on the final day of his two-day trip to Qatar, Infantino said,”Of course, the World Cup will take place in Qatar in 2022.”
“Again this is a decision that has been taken six years ago…There has been a lot of speculations and allegations, but I think we have to move on.”
“My job as FIFA President is to organise the best World Cups in Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022. I would dedicate all my work and energy to organising these events,” he said.
“The World Cup will take place from November 21 until December 18, 2022. Is it ideal? Well from the European perspective, maybe not but the world is more than Europe,” he said.
“We recognised the fact that the world is more than Europe when I was in UEFA. If for once in 150-year history of football, we change the calendar a little bit and we have several ideas of advance warning, we can adapt ourselves. The FIFA World Cup is the most important football and sports competition in the world and it has to be played in the most acceptable conditions,” he said.
The FIFA president expressed his sincere thanks and appreciation to the Emir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani for the warm reception accorded to him.
“It is a matter of pride my presence in Qatar, and the pleasure of meeting the Emir of Qatar, and to see personal commitment given by the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al Thani, not only for the finals of the 2022 World Cup, but also his interest in issues related to labour standards in order to ensure their full rights.”
Infantino also announced the creation of an oversight body with independent members to monitor the systems in place to ensure decent working conditions at FIFA World Cup stadiums. With this initiative, FIFA will step up its efforts in overseeing the set-up by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC).
The composition of this new body, which will be led by FIFA, should include relevant sectors of civil society and other relevant FIFA stakeholders to oversee all FIFA competitions.
The FIFA president was very pleased with the positive response and the support offered by the Qatari authorities for this initiative.
“Over the last few weeks, I have been following very closely the discussions on FIFA and human rights, particularly around the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar,” said Infantino.
“I have seen the measures taken by the SC and I am confident that we are on the right track. An encouraging example is the SC’s response to issues that have occurred, such as the ones raised by Amnesty International in its latest report, which were already tackled by the SC prior to the release of the report. This shows that the mechanisms in place related to FIFA World Cup construction are working although challenges remain.”
“The hosting of the FIFA World Cup is an opportunity to set a benchmark in terms of sustainable and fair conditions for all workers in Qatar. In connection with the 2022 event, this body will validate the quality and effectiveness of the due diligence processes in place, will analyse the regular findings of the independent auditing system, the remediation measures taken by the SC to address any issues and report about findings, recommendations and progress, with the aim of increasing transparency around this important topic.
The FIFA chief said the 40-team proposal would not be used for Qatar 2022 but would be implemented in the 2026 if approved by the FIFA Congress.