Football

Fifa chief Gianni Infantino certain of full stadiums at Qatar 2022

World Cup matches will play to full stadiums in Qatar next year, said Gianni Infantino, president of global football body Fifa, on Monday.

"I am very, very confident (it) will be incredible, will have the same magic, uniting the world," he told a virtual meeting in Geneva. "We will be back to where we have to be."

The 32-team tournament is scheduled in Qatar in November and December 2022.

"Covid will be defeated by then. If in two years' time, we are not there yet, we will all have a bigger problem than a World Cup," he said.

Qualifying games for the tournament have already begun in Asia and South America, and are due to start in Europe next month.

Asked about the wisdom of holding international games in the current situation, Infantino said those games would take place under a "clear health protocol which would not put at risk the health of anyone".

"The international games will be held in March; by then we will assess the situation and see where we can play and in what conditions, but we will certainly not take any risks with the health of anyone..." he said.

World Cup players, however, are not a priority group for Covid-19 vaccines, he added.

Infantino, who was launching a joint campaign with the World Health Organisation to promote fair access to vaccines, said he was not a supporter of footballers jumping the queue, except in the context of international competitions and the Olympics. - REUTERS

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