Qatar Says World Cup Preparations on Track Despite Pandemic

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Qatar’s preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup are nearing completion and the tournament is expected to go ahead despite pandemic-related setbacks, the country’s ruler said Friday.

“We, in Qatar, are ready for this occasion,” Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani told an economic conference in St. Petersburg via video link. “The pandemic affected everyone, not just Qatar. True, there was a delay but it was a very limited delay in some World Cup preparations which will all be complete in the coming months.”

Qatar will host an Arab soccer championship in November, which was expected to be a test-run for FIFA’s flagship event, he said.

Earlier this year, the tiny Gulf state, said it was talking to vaccine suppliers to ensure that visitors to the World Cup were inoculated against Covid-19, which has already forced organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to postpone the games and ban overseas spectators.

One of the richest countries on the planet per capita, Qatar is spending hundreds of billions of dollars on infrastructure construction ahead of the World Cup, fueling an oversupply in property.

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