One year after he assumed office as FIFA president, Gianni Infantino has expressed his confidence in Qatar getting its infrastructure ready in time for the 2022 World Cup.
“From the reports I have been receiving, a lot is being done and great progress is being made,” Infantino told journalists in Doha.
“We are very confident that everything will be ready. Of course, it doesn’t mean we can sit down and just wait until 2022 because a lot, a lot remains to be done,” he added.
Infantino’s confidence stems from the fact that Qatar was sparing no effort to meet FIFA’s requirements for the mega event.
“Work is going ahead at full speed with commitment by the government, the Supreme Committee and the Qatar Football Association,” Infantino said.
Infantino, who is in Doha to attend a FIFA executive meeting, also emphasised he has no objections to up to four countries co-hosting the 2026 World Cup.
“We will encourage co-hosting for the World Cup because we need FIFA to show we are reasonable and we have to think about sustainability long-term,” Infantino said.
“We could maybe bring together two, three, four countries who can jointly present a project with three, four, five stadiums each. We will certainly encourage it. Ideally the countries will be close to each other.”
The event has been co-hosted only once before, by Japan and South Korea in 2002.
Infantino last visited Qatar in April 2016 just two months after defeating Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifah of Bahrain in a hotly-contested election for the FIFA president’s post.
With controversies swirling around Qatar’s winning World Cup bid, he was asked if there was still an element of doubt about the tournament taking place in the country.
“When it comes to the question of whether the World Cup will take place here in 2022 or not, of course the World Cup will take place in Qatar in 2022,” Infantino had said then.
According to estimates, Qatar is investing upwards of $200bn in World Cup related projects – which includes stadiums, hotels, training facilities and a metro rail network among other infrastructure.