Posted on February 18, 2017

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said on Thursday there is need to put some of the facilities for the 2022 World Cup to test.

Asked if the country would host the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup in Doha, he said, "We hope to ensure some test matches and events are organised here and all options are open at this moment. There are already some events that have taken place like the Italian Super Cup in December that was a success story. We would find out what kind of events we can organise here in Qatar," Infantino said on the sidelines of the FIFA Executive Summit in Doha.

Since a FIFA decision that the 2021 Confederations Cup will not be held in Qatar, the Club World Cup is the most realistic option to test run facilities for the mundial. The tournament usually takes place a year before the World Cup in the host country and pits the World Cup hosts against the current World Cup holders, along with the winners of the six confederation tournaments. About Qatar 2022, he said: "I am confident stadiums and infrastructure for Qatar World Cup will be ready by 2022, a lthough a lot remains to be done." "We have assurances from the Supreme Committee on their preparations; Qatar will organise the best-ever World Cup," Infantino added.

The FIFA boss added the 2026 World Cup could be co-hosted by as many as four countries in either Africa or South/North America. Inafntino said: "We are starting the bidding process for the 2026 World Cup and we have made some important decisions like encouraging co-hosting for the World Cup because we need FIFA to show the fans that we are reasonable and we think of long-term sustainability." "If you think about the World Cup and the requirements we are putting on countries, there are really only a few countries in the world that can comply," he said.

With concerns raised about the financial burden placed on a tournament host, and the bad publicity generated by stadiums built and then abandoned after use, Infantino said, "It is perfectly in line with our sustainability and legacy to bring together two, three, four countries who can jointly present a project with three, four, five stadiums each. We will certainly encourage it. Obviously the countries will be close to each other, otherwise the travel will be a major challenge." The only time FIFA has previously co-hosted the world's biggest soccer fiesta was in 2002 when Japan and South Korea staged a tournament that was generally described as a success. 

The FIFA boss also said the 2026 World Cup could go to an African or a joint South or North American bid. With the hosting of the 2018 World Cup in Russia 2018 and 2022 in Qatar, Asia and Europe are not allowed to bid. Infantino and 40 football association presidents and secretary-generals from UEFA (Europe), CAF (African) and AFC (Asia) are in Doha for two FIFA Executive Summits. The FIFA boss stated that they had intense meetings about football development and investment in football projects around the world. He ssaid previous meetings took place in Paris, Singapore and Miami. Johannesburg is the next stop in a week from now. "These meetings are part of the new way we want to manage and run the organisation by including everyone, listening to everyone and learning from the different associations. For this reason we are very happy to be in Doha, which is an international hub that is easy to travel to and it was easier to direct our representatives here."

Infantino said the Russian government has put in place a fan identification system to curb violence or hooliganism during the 2018 World Cup. "I am not concerned about trouble and violence in 2018, I have full confidence in the Russian authorities, they have taken this matter very seriously. They have been in contact with FIFA and the French to learn the lessons of what happened in the Euro 2016. As part of their effort, the Russian government has put in place a Fan-ID system, which will give some facilities to the fans to travel with their visas and will help in case of any potential crime," Infantino said. He added that Russia was a"welcoming country, which wants to celebrate football". 

Only recently, Russian Deputy Sports Minister Natalia Parshikova stated that all spectators including Russian citizens would be required to have Fan-ID at the Confederations Cup 2017 and at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. Russian and English fans clashed at the Euro 2016 tournament in France and several Russians were expelled.

source: Qatar Tribune

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