Panafrican News Agency

FIFA council approves FIFA Arab Cup 2021

Zurich, Switzerland (PANA) - The FIFA Council on Friday approved the competition regulations for the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, which will be held in Qatar from December 1 to 18 this year.

At a meeting, held via videoconference, the FIFA Council, chaired by president Gianni Infantino, also confirmed the match schedule and draw procedure for the competition, which will be played by 22 national teams from the Arab region

The 22 participating teams are: Qatar, Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

The 16 teams that take part in the final stage will be split into four groups, with the top two from each qualifying for the quarter-finals.

A story on the FIFA website said a total of 32 matches will be held over 18 days.

The tournament will be delivered by FIFA, the Qatar Football Association, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

Seen as a vital opportunity to test operations and facilities ahead of Qatar 2022, the tournament will take place in the same timeslot as the FIFA World Cup. The finals of both the FIFA Arab Cup and FIFA World Cup will take place exactly one year apart – each on 18 December, Qatar National Day, which is a public holiday.

During his visit to Qatar in November last year, Infantino praised Qatar’s preparation for the World Cup, highlighting that he expects the FIFA Arab Cup to unite millions of fans from all the Arab region.

He added that it is a great opportunity for teams to play in the World Cup 2020 stadiums and that FIFA is “looking forward to seeing the region’s best teams battle it out to see which nation will become champion.”

“Through football, this tournament will unite over 450 million people from across the region, and we are confident that the FIFA Arab Cup will help to build excitement across the region as we get nearer to hosting the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world in 2022,” Infantino said during a visit to Lusail Stadium, which will host the world cup final.

Meanwhile, FIFA expects to hit its four-year revenue target of US$6.44 billion up to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar despite the coronavirus pandemic. Total spending of US$1.04 billion in 2020 included US$270 million in grants to football bodies worldwide as part of a COVID-19 relief plan, FIFA’s annual financial report said. It also included a US$10 million donation to the World Health Organization.

FIFA again awarded its president Infantino a US$1 million annual bonus to raise his overall pre-tax pay above US$ 3 million in 2020, matching his 2019 income.

FIFA gets most of its money from the four-yearly men’s World Cup, and said it already sealed 92% of its income target from broadcasting rights.

Fewer sponsor slots for the 2022 World Cup have been sold compared to the same stage before previous editions of the tournament.

-0- PANA VAO 20March2021