Qatar are all set to host a a pan-Arab tournament in 2021 as a preparatory event before the 2022 World Cup, the Qatar Football Association (QFA) and FIFA announced on Thursday.
The proposal by Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) was ratified by the FIFA Council which met on Thursday.
It is expected that the tournament will allow the SC to use and test the facilities developed for the 2022 World Cup and assess its operational readiness.
The invitational tournament is expected to feature 22 Arab nations from Africa and Asia. It will be held in Qatar from 1-18 December 2021 and will be played outside the international match calendar.
It is interesting to note that the tournament will take place during the exact period when the 2022 World Cup is scheduled for in Qatar which will give an idea on what to expect during the World Cup. The final of the pan-Arab competition will be played exactly one year before the 2022 World Cup final.
All the matches will be played at the stadiums developed for the 2022 World Cup.
President of the QFA, H.E. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Ahmad Al Thani, said, "This is an exciting moment for Qatar and football fans across the region and around the world. This new pan-Arab tournament will see teams from across the region go head-to-head in state-of-the-art FIFA World Cup venues and allow teams and fans to experience Qatar as a tournament host country.
"This tournament marks an important footballing milestone for the country and the region, and everyone involved in delivering it will gain more essential experience ahead of the Qatar World Cup.”
H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the SC, said, "This exciting tournament will act as a perfect preparatory event for Qatar ahead of the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world.
“Qatar has hosted many events since it was awarded the World Cup hosting rights back in 2010, but this will be our biggest yet and it will prove essential in utilising facilities and services ahead of 2022. The tournament is also being held at exactly the same time as the World Cup, meaning fans, players and officials will get a taste of what’s to come in 2022."