Bengaluru, June 16: As 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts Qatar officialy launched the third venue -- the Education City Stadium -- the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was in focus, with the chief organisers admitting that were consulting with the Premier League and Bundesliga to learn about how they are dealing with the pandemic.
The 40,000-capacity Education City stadium is the third venue to be completed after the redevelopment of Khalifa International Stadium in 2017 and last year's opening of Al Janoub.
COVID-19 restrictions meant the third stadium was launched during a digital show rather than at the venue known as the 'Diamond in the Desert'.
"Launching the stadium now - while the world is overcoming the coronavirus pandemic - shows everyone that there's light at the end of the tunnel and brighter days ahead," said Hassan Al Thawadi, the Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) -- the local organising committee responsible of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Al Thawadi's comments underscore how sports are taking into account the potential for ongoing health precautions at events, if there is no vaccine for COVID-19.
"This is an opportunity for all of us to learn from each other. We're maybe in a better position than most in the sense that we have two years ahead where we can learn from other people's experiences," he added.
The Bundesliga resumed last month and the Premier League's 100-day shutdown ends on Wednesday (June 17) with fans prohibited from stadiums in Germany and England.
It may be recalled that in a break from tradition, the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup was pushed back to a winter window because of the scorching summer temperatures in the Middle East country.
The tournament is scheduled to be held from November 21 to December 18. Qatar is building only eight stadiums for the one-month tournament and are promising to deliver the completed venues two years before the kick off.
Work on Qatar's eight World Cup stadiums and mega-projects linked to the tournament has continued despite the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Two more stadiums -- Al Rayyan Stadium and Al Bayt Stadium -- are expected to open by the end of 2020.