Saturday, 4 May 2013
KUALA LUMPUR QATAR’S option to reduce how many stadiums it builds for the 2022 World Cup is fine with FIFA. FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said on Friday that just eight stadiums are needed to stage the 64-match tournament, despite the 12-venue plan required when bidding.
“There is a discussion. We will be pragmatic and we will find the right number,” Valcke said in an interview, predicting “eight to 10” venues will be chosen by a 2018 deadline.
Last month, an American investment bank revealed after meeting Qatar’s organising committee that fewer stadiums were being considered.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch told investors that building all 12 could push World Cup-linked construction costs over its $95 billion estimate.
Qatar’s pledge to develop stadium air-conditioning technology to combat the searing heat is central to an ambitious urban architectural plan. It includes new transport networks in what is the smallest country ever chosen as a World Cup host.
“I don’t see the interest for Qatar to have 12 stadiums,” said Valcke, highlighting its size rather than cost-cutting as the deciding factor for the gasrich economy.
“It can be seen as a budget question, but I think that for Qatar it’s not the main point.
Do something that makes sense for your country, not only for your budget. With less you can do something that is beautiful.” Qatar follows Brazil and Russia as World Cup hosts, and those huge countries opted for 12 stadiums.
“Russia will use the World Cup to promote Russia, to develop other cities than just St. Petersburg and Moscow,” said Valcke, who leads FIFA’s liaison with host nations.
Playing an average of eight matches at each venue over an expected 31-day schedule is also acceptable.
“If you have very good pitches you can play every day in a stadium. It’s fine, we have no problem,” Valcke said. “The question is more about protecting the surface and making sure teams that will play in different stadiums will have the same quality.” Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee Secretary-General Hassan al Thawadi told the AP the project followed the same decision-making process as Brazil and Russia.
“What’s going to happen in Qatar is no different to what is going to happen at other World Cups,” he said.
DOHA AL SADD will be chasing their sixth Heir Apparent Cup title when they face Lekhwiya in the 2013 final at the Al Sadd Stadium, on Saturday.
Lekhwiya, who is in the final for the first time, qualified after it edged El Jaish 2-1 while Al Sadd thumped Al Rayyan 3-1. Ahead of the clash, both coaches signaled their intention of winning the prestigious trophy at the final that promises to be an entertaining game for fans, who will have the opportunity of winning prizes courtesy of the Qatar Stars League.
Speaking at a pre-match conference on Thursday, Lekhwiya coach Eric Gerets said, “We want this cup but our opponents want this cup also. They are probably slight favourites because they have won the championship.
However, in football you never know what will happen. That is why we have a real chance of lifting this trophy. I am sure it will be a great game.” Al Sadd coach Hussein Amotta said, “The game will be very rich with opportunities. Our games always offer the chance to play great contests.
It is an honour to play this game and shake the hand of His Highness the Heir Apparent.
“I prefer to treat this game like an ordinary match. It will be open because there are many good players in both teams.” “The game will be very interesting. It is going to be a battle between the front line and the defenders.
Whoever concentrates the most might win the game,” Amotta added.
After a busy midweek AFC Champions league clash against Al Ittifaq, Gerets believes his players are still recovering from the strains and pressure of the Champions League.
“The only thing that concerns me just now is the rest of my players after our big game in the Champions League. The amount of games we play could become an advantage to Al Sadd maybe after an hour. Nevertheless, we will not be talking about excuses just now. “This is a final and the crucial thing is to play as well as you can and give everything to the game.
“The stadium will be full, there will be no empty spaces in the ground and that will be a fantastic thing.
“If we lost this cup and we have played the very best we can then of course we will be disappointed, he added. On the fitness and availability of two regulars of the team, the Belgian said, “Issar Dia and Nam Tae-Hee are injured but I honestly don’t know if they are fit. It will be 50-50 if they play.” Lekhwiya captain Madjid Bougherra is optimistic they have a chance against the Raul Gonzalez led team. “ This final will be very special. For Lekhwiya it is the first time we are in the final. We were very happy to win against El Jaish and we are looking forward to it.
“The quality of players is in this match. You just have to look at someone like Kalfan to realise what a good player he is.
“Everyone knows about Raul and what a great player he is. Then you have Younis Mahmoud who has a lot of experience. So it is not just a job for me but for the whole team.” Meanwhile, a staggering QR2, 000,000 worth of prizes are available to be won in the match which kicks off at 6:45pm on Saturday.
As part of the glamour end-of-season, the Qatar Stars League has promised a great pool of prizes to be won. To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is buy a ticket for the game.
There are six cars to be won, including a luxury Lexus, Toyota FJ Cruisers and a Toyota Corolla. Lucky fans can also scoop a selection of 52 brilliant prizes, including TVs, smartphones and kids motorbikes.