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FIFA President Gianni Infantino: World Cup 2022 Will Have Full Stadiums
- Updated: February 2, 2021
GIANNI INFANTINO, president of FIFA, announced today (February 1) at a virtual meeting from Geneva that: “Next year, the Qatar 2022 world championship will have an audience, we hope that the COVID pandemic will be a thing of the past and we will all be able to see it in person.”
“I’m really, really confident. We will enjoy the same magic that unites the whole world,” he said.
“We’re going back to where we need to be.”
The FIFA President continued: “We have been working with the WHO since last year on a protocol for the return to football.
“Health is a priority, when we play football what we want is to protect the health of everyone, the footballers, the referees, the coaches, the public. And whatever we do, we will do it following health protocols that do not put anyone at risk.
“Of course, we must find a balance, but we must respect the laws and regulations of the countries,” he said.
“We already have the protocol and we are going to monitor the situation in the coming weeks, the situation is evolving, international matches are going to be held from March, but it is clear that we will not endanger anyone’s health,” he concluded.
The World Cup is scheduled to take place in Qatar in November-December.
Delays in the 2022 World Cup qualifying program in most continents led FIFA last year to create new games dates next January. They will help make up the backlog in an increasingly tight schedule with broadcasting rights already sold.
In Asia, 40 national teams are due to resume qualifying groups that last played in November 2019.
A total of 135 teams are due to play World Cup qualifiers next month, and 48 more have preliminary games for the 2022 African Cup of Nations.
“We will see where we can play, in what conditions,” the FIFA leader said, pledging to “do it by adhering to a clear health protocol.”
Many of the players due to return home for national duty play for clubs in Europe, including in England which is experiencing an aggressive new variant of COVID-19.
FIFA eased its rules last year that require clubs to release players to national teams. Exemptions were offered if players had to travel to countries imposing mandatory quarantine or self-isolation for at least five days upon arrival or their return.