Doha, 7 April 2020 - FIFA President Gianni Infantino has expressed his confidence in Qatar hosting an ‘amazing' World Cup in spite of the difficult times the world is facing on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Qatar will host the football's showpiece event in a little over two years' time - at eight stadiums from November 21 to December 18.
“I am convinced and have no doubt that, despite the current exceptional circumstances, Qatar will be ready to deliver an amazing tournament for the region and the whole world,” the head of the football governing body wrote in a letter addressed to Qatar Football Association (QFA) President, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.
Infantino was responding to a letter sent to him by the QFA chief in which he had expressed Qatar commitment in delivering an amazing World Cup as well as joining the global fight against the virus.
“We remain committed to hosting the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and this slight delay in our planning will not deter us from delivering an amazing FIFA World Cup for the region and the world. We aim to celebrate humanity with the vision of bringing football fans from across the world together,” Sheikh Hamad had said in his letter.
Sheikh Hamad also expressed Qatar’s football fraternity’s willingness to join the global initiative against the spread of COVID-19.
“Whilst we wade through this storm of uncertainty and pain, I would like to offer our wholehearted support and cooperation to the global football community and willingness to contribute in any way necessary to overcome this crisis,” he wrote.
“I am extremely glad to see the global football community coming together during these difficult times and showing the sense of harmony, humanity and social responsibility. We at Qatar Football Association assure you of our highest consideration and support,” he added.
Infantino, while thanking QFA, wrote: "The world is facing an unprecedented health challenge and a global and collective response is needed. Cooperation, solidarity, mutual respect and understanding must be the guiding principles to have in mind at this crucial moment in time, and these are the defining values of the international football community. As you rightfully said, we require unity, harmony, humanity and a shared sense of responsibility, and I would like to thank you for your actions and for your kind support and willingness to contribute to overcome this crisis.”
On March 18, the Bureau of the FIFA Council agreed to assess the economic impact faced by the various football stakeholders in each continent to analyse the need for a support fund at global level to be established and how, in that case, concrete support mechanisms should be defined. FIFA is keeping in regular contact with all relevant stakeholders and moving forward to finding solutions in a spirit of cooperation, taking into account the interests of football at all levels,” the FIFA President said.
Concluding his letter, Infantino noted in such troubled times the unity of the people helps to tide over the situation.
“Challenging circumstances offer the opportunity for people to come together, show what they can do in a collective spirit, and emerge stronger and better prepared for the future. We know that this is one of these moments, and we know that we can count on the support of the whole football community moving forward,” Infantino wrote.
Sheikh Hamad was confident that the world will win the battle over the disease.
“I am convinced that with teamwork, discipline and ‘never give up’ attitude, which are attributes that we learn from our beautiful game, we can overcome this crisis and celebrate our victory over this relentless disease soon. I am sure we will come out of this crisis more unified and stronger than ever.”
QFA on its part have taken several measures to spread the virus which Sheikh Hamad explained in his letter to Infantino.
“From the start of the outbreak in the region, we have put ourselves at the service of our local public health authorities to spread the required messages to combat this deadly virus and minimise its impact as soon as possible. We have postponed all our local competitions and leagues to a future date and taken all necessary measures whilst activating all necessary protocols to curb the spread of the virus in the country.”