19 May 2017 - 8:56
2022 World Cup to attract 1.3 million fans to Qatar
Up to 1.3 million fans will visit Qatar during the Fifa 2022 World Cup, an official said yesterday, equivalent to half the country's population.
Nasser Al Khater, a senior figure with the body organising Qatar's World Cup, also said that for the first time in tournament history many of the fans would come from outside Europe and South America.
"We believe we are going to have a huge influx (of fans), 1.3 million during the tournament," said Khater, speaking as Qatar unveiled its first fully refurbished Khalifa International Stadium.
"We are putting a ceiling cap of 1.3 million as an estimate."
He added: "I think everybody when they think of a World Cup, they expect the majority of the fans are going to be coming from western Europe and South America. "I think, first of all, football is changing, but I think also because of the geographical location of Qatar, I think we are going to see the majority of fans come from the region, mainly from Saudi Arabia.
"We are going to see a lot of fans coming from India, a lot of fans coming from Russia. "I think we will see something very different in this World Cup." About one million people visited Brazil for the last World Cup. Qatar's current official population is 2.6 million.
The World Cup in Qatar will be held between November 21 and December 18, 2022.
As part of its revamp, Khalifa International Stadium includes technology that will provide air-conditioning for fans.
Approximately 500 jet nozzles will blast out cold air, keeping temperatures at around 23 degrees Celsius, for fans. The man responsible for the system, Qatar University's Dr Saud Ghani, said he believed the stadium is a world-first. "There isn't on earth, one open air, air-conditioned stadium," he said.