Coronavirus: Qatar promises 2022 World Cup will go ahead

06/06/20 10:31pm

The Lusail Stadium is the biggest stadium under construction for the World Cup in 2022, with a planned capacity of 80,000

The 2022 World Cup will take place on time despite the knock-on from the coronavirus pandemic, the host state Qatar has pledged.

Qatar`s foreign minister says the designs of the stadiums, which are nearly 90% complete, will comply with any changes to health and safety guidance as a result of COVID-19, and that consultations with the organising committee are ongoing.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told Sky News: We believe that Qatar is working very closely and strongly with different healthcare organisations to make sure to deliver a healthy and safe World Cup and believe that this is part of the cure for the world to be back together in a happy manner.

There is an ongoing exercise with the organising committee, with different stakeholders, to make sure that all the health and safety standards are applied in all our stadiums, so it`s still something ongoing.

Sheikh Mohammed says the stadiums in Qatar will comply with any COVID-19 health and safety measures

Once it`s clear for all of us, I`m sure that we are going to put it out to the public.

Qatar has suffered an unusually high number of coronavirus infections given its small population but has managed to keep the death rate low.

The Gulf nation, with a population of 2.8 million, has recorded 65,000 cases to date but has suffered only 49 deaths.

It has put in place a rigorous test and trace system, criticised by some as being too intrusive.

The Emir of Qatar took part in Thursday`s vaccine conference hosted by Boris Johnson, where the Gulf nation pledged $20m (£15.5m) to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Sheikh Mohammed revealed.

Asked if the absence of a global strategy to counter the coronavirus represented a global failure, the foreign minister said better collaboration was key.

The 60,000-capacity Al Bayt Stadium is also being built for the World Cup in Al Khor

Without collaboration and exchange of experience and dialogue, we believe we cannot adopt and learn from each other, he said.

So we believe that despite the discussion we are seeing about a nationalist approach, it should represent for us a stimulation to enhance and improve our international cooperation and to work together.

The United States recently chose to cut funding for the World Health Organisation, citing perceived failings by the body to adequately deal with the virus.

Sheikh Mohammed said: We believe that [Thursday`s] conference is also a representation of different countries commitment for multilateralism and we believe it`s important to look at the reform of these organisations.

But it`s more important to preserve them and to make sure that they are working effectively respond to the challenges that our countries are facing.

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