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Qatar-2022-stadium.jpg

Why Qatar’s futuristic World Cup will help England’s bid to end years of woe

Date Posted,June 4, 2017

England will be in with a big chance of success at the World Cup that is set to blow people’s minds.

Qatar was controversially chosen in 2010 to host the 2022 tournament following a FIFA vote under now-disgraced president Sepp Blatter.

For the first time, the World Cup will be moved from summer to winter to combat the debilitating heat in the middle east, with games to be played in November and December.

And former West Brom director Adrian Wright – now with Sporting Group International – reckons that will eliminate at least one of the great stumbling blocks for England at big tournaments.

Wright flew back last week from visiting the gulf state as part of Qatar’s new 2022 ‘Pavilion Tour’, and was impressed with the plans he saw – and the opportunity for England.

The Al-Wakrah Stadium is one of the planned venues to the Qatar World Cup (Photo: Qatar 2022)
The Al-Shamal stadium artists impression
The Al-Shamal Stadium is also proposed to host football (Photo: Qatar 2022)

Wright told Mirror Football: “The timing is something the Premier League clubs are not especially happy with.

“But there has always been this argument every time the English national team go to a World Cup that they are knackered from the season before.

“There will be no excuse for that, and as long as they don’t get loaded with a ridiculous amount of fixtures pre-World Cup, they should be fresh.

“It could do the national team a big favour. Assuming England qualify, I think they could do well there.”

Wright was allowed access to Qatar 2022’s latest plans at their high-rise HQ in Doha as part of their corporate engagement programme, with more than just the November/December dates helping England’s cause.

England have an abysmal record in the latter stages of major tournaments (Photo: Getty)
Gareth Southgate could still be leading England come the 2022 World Cup (Photo: 2017 Getty Images)

He says they are pulling out all the stops and ploughing billions into producing top-class stadia – all within an hour’s travel of the capital.

Reduced travel means teams can stay at the same hotel and training facilities for the duration.

The eight grounds are all due to have ‘cooling systems’ designed to keep the temperatures between 24-28 degrees for players and fans.

The timezone is just two hours ahead of the UK with a prime-time global TV audience of three billion predicted to tune in.

Fans will be able to potentially attend two matches in a day.

Sepp Blatter
Qatar was awarded the World Cup in 2010 (Photo: Getty)
The Doha Port stadium artists impression
The Doha Port Stadium could be one of the venues for the World Cup (Photo: Qatar 2022)

Qatar is the first Muslim country to host a World Cup and alcohol is currently being banned there.

But Wright expects a compromise to be reached to let fans drink legally during the competition and avoid a blackmarket.

Wright added: “If they pull off their plans it is going to be one hell of a World Cup.

“The ‘Pavilion Tour’ gives you an insight into the journey of Qatar and its relationship with football and how they progressed to the successful bid.

“It provides you with an interactive, professional, dynamic illustration of their plans from the construction of stadiums to how they are going to service the masses who will be descending on Doha.

The Al-Rayyan stadium artists impression
The Al-Rayyan Stadium is one of the proposed venues (Photo: Qatar 2022)
The Khalifa International Stadium in Doha artists impression
The Khalifa International Stadium in Doha is an impressive venue (Photo: Qatar 2022)

“Their travel plans look impressive with a new train and road network and also include things like water taxis.

“There are some beliefs which don’t allow people to consume alcohol in the country but that is something I expect will be addressed.

“Otherwise it would be a deterrent for people to travel from the UK and Europe.

“And after criticism about the safety of migrant labour I noticed there appeared to be clear displays about health and safety around the building sites on the changing skyline.”

The decision to award the World Cup to a country of around just two million people, beating off rival bids from favourites USA, plus Australia, South Korea and Japan, sparked outcry.

But with the plans taking shape, Qatar looks ready to set the standard for others to follow.

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