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Qatar tribune

Tribune news network

DOHA

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin believes Qatar has already underlined why it is a worthy host nation in the early stages of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

After a decade of build-up and anticipation, the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 got underway with a spectacular opening ceremony at Al Bayt Stadium, its design inspired by a Bedouin tent - one of the main foundations of Arabian culture and hospitality.

After the Emir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, declared the tournament officially ‘open’, the focus immediately switched to the month-long action set to unfold across the Arabian Gulf state, which is the first country in the Arab world to host FIFA’s quadrennial showpiece.

With more than $200 billion spent in sporting infrastructure for the tournament, seven new stadiums have been built specifically for this World Cup, including the 60,000-seat Al Bayt Stadium north of Doha, with Ceferin revealing he has only heard positive feedback from teams participating in the event.

Speaking exclusively to beIN SPORTS, Ceferin said: “The opening ceremony was impressive, it was a great show in a great new stadium. It was a great start to the World Cup. All the teams I speak with, and all the presidents of the European Federations, are very happy with how they are placed here. Everything is great.”

Ceferin also insisted that Qatar, home to three million people, is constantly evolving and improving: “The infrastructure is impressive and the fact that things have changed too [in Qatar] means hosting a competition with all the world looking at you helps your development. It’s great to host a competition like this as you can do many things from it. I’ve been in football 11 years and debates in football never end. Facts are important, not debates.”

Meanwhile, Ceferin reinforced European Club Association Chairman Nasser al Khelaifi’s recent message that European football must remain united amid fresh talk of a breakaway Super League being introduced.

“We have many priorities, but the most important thing is we keep the European sports model and the model of the competitions we have,” Ceferin explained.

“We must keep the ‘[Champions League] slogan: ‘Earn it’ on the pitch, but what I would like to say is we don’t have the crises of the last three years anymore. We had COVID, we had this crazy idea of Super League, we had the UEFA European Championships in 11 countries with COVID, and in the end the [Russia and Ukraine conflict] started. So, I hope we have calmer days in the future.

“We are working close together, we are almost one. We think about every topic concerning club football and our co-operation with the chairman Nasser al Khelaifi is fantastic,” added Cerefin.

“I have so many challenges that we would need another interview to tell you everything. I can say that we at UEFA work for the good of football and we’ll do that in the future. There’s no compromise on that.”

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24/11/2022
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