efe-epaCairo

Preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup projects were not affected by the blockade imposed on Qatar by four Arab countries more than three years ago that ended this month, Qatari deputy Foreign Minister Lolwah al-Khater told Efe during an interview Thursday.

“At the beginning of the blockade, we had some shortages of some of materials but thanks to our Ministry of Commerce we were able to quickly shift to other suppliers and fill that shortage. So as a result of that swift move in our policies we are currently ahead of our schedule,” al-Khater said.

A total of four of the eight stadiums designated to host the 2022 World Cup matches in Qatar have already been officially opened and construction on a fifth venue is complete, almost two years ahead of the opening ceremony of the first World Cup to be held in an Arab country.

"For football fans, hopefully it will be a very good experience and that they can explore not only Qatari culture but Arab culture in general," al-Khater added.

"We are preparing to welcome all fans (...). The World Cup in Qatar will be the first ever to offer the experience of attending two matches per day. As you know, Qatar is a small state, this also has its positive side, because it means the fans don’t have to travel long distances to move from one stadium to the other,” she explained.

In addition, she pointed out that public transport would facilitate travel between stadiums, and noted the weather "will be perfect in December" in Qatar, where winter is often very mild.

The deputy minister stressed that "Qatar is a country that has invested heavily in sports. The World Cup is not the first championship we host. Qatar hosted the Asian Games in 2006 and also won the right to host the Asian Games again in 2030."

Qatar’s commitment to sports is not only limited to hosting international championships, but it is also where leading global sports network beIN Sports is based. EFE-EPA

fc/smq/ks