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World Cup criticism to end after tournament begins: Official

Nasser Al-Khater, CEO of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, told the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) that criticism of the first Arab country to host the cup has weakened and will fizzle out once fans from across the world start attending the matches.

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Qatar has played down criticism of the FIFA World Cup 2022 and said attacks on the country will die down after the kick-off.

Nasser Al-Khater, CEO of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, told the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) that criticism of the first Arab country to host the cup has weakened and will fizzle out once fans from across the world start attending the matches.

According to FIFA estimates, returns from the World Cup could reach $6 bn, Nasser Al-Khater said while addressing a slew of issues related to the upcoming tournament that will be played from November 20 to December 18.

Qatar has come under repeated attacks from abroad over hosting the tournament and labour issues. There has been speculation about the country’s alcohol policy during the tournament which remains to be formally declared.

However, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, which is responsible for organising the tournament, has pushed back against criticism and held its ground.

The World Cup CEO also quashed rumours about high accommodation prices during the World Cup, saying that some hotel rooms can be booked for $80 a night, while there are also those with super luxury options selling for $5,478 a night. There are options at each price point, Al-Khater said.

In addition, he said, there are villas, hotel apartments and camping sites. Moreover, prices are being updated regularly as more hotel rooms and apartments become available.

Qatar, which is the first Arab and Middle Eastern country to host the FIFA World Cup, has lined up a slew of events and entertainment options along its sea promenade to keep the fans entertained.

Al Maha Island, which has been designed as a leisure and tourism hotspot, is slated to open at the beginning of November. The 230,000 square metre facility will receive visitors about two weeks ahead of the World Cup. Located across the Lusail Marina promenade and linked to the mainland via a causeway, Al Maha Island is expected to attract more than 1.5m visitors per year, according to officials.

Featuring Lusail Winter Wonderland, Nammos Beach Club, Al Maha Arena and a high-end dining district, the island is meant to be the popular destination among citizens and residents in Qatar and expected to attract tourists from GCC countries and the region.

A total of 3.2 m tickets are available for the World Cup, a third of which have been allocated to sponsors and carriers.

(Inputs from IANS)