Doha, August 24 (QNA) - CEO FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Nasser Al Khater said that FIFA estimates that the World Cups returns could reach $6 billion.
Al Khater told Qatar News Agency (QNA) on a live stream on Twitter that changing the start date for the World Cup was down with the agreement of all designated bodies after it was approved by the FIFA Council and Qatar and Ecuador who will now feature in the opening match.
He added that moving the match one day early to Sunday instead of Monday was welcomed by the carriers and sponsors as well. He highlighted that the match will be the only one for that day, giving it bigger momentum and high viewership potential.
The World Cup CEO discussed some of the rumors on high accommodation prices at the World Cup, noting that some hotel rooms are selling for $80 a night at the most, with more luxurious options selling for $5478 a night, stressing that there were options at each price point.
He added that there are also villas, hotel apartments, and camping sites available, and that prices are being updated regularly in light of the new supply of hotel rooms and apartments that have become available.
On ticket sales, he said that they are seeing strong demand that surprised FIFA officials. He said that Mexico Vs. Argentina was the best-selling ticket, followed by Saudi Arabia Vs. Argentina. Both tickets are sold out.
He added that the second phase of ticket sales concluded August 16, with a new one starting in September. He stressed that officials from the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) were confident that there was going to be a strong demand for tickets, thanks to Qatar's close proximity to heavily populated Asian countries like China and India, as well as some European countries. He said the total number of tickets available was 3.2 million, a third of which was allocated to sponsors and carriers.
Al Khater welcomed GCC citizens to Qatar. He said their attendance would be a boost to the World Cup, which was important given it is the first to be held in the Arab World.
Al Khater stressed that the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy was confident that ticket sales and demand would be very strong even though the competition was taking place in November and December.
He added that the Stadium 974 is one of the most unique. He added that it was located in a beautiful area overlooking the Gulf, which why it was going to be disassembled, particularly as the country has tourism plans directed at this area that will be announced at a later time.
He said that criticism of the World Cup in Qatar will not disappear but noted that it has moderated recently thanks to the great efforts the country made and stressed that these criticisms will end once fans from all over the world start attending matches.
With regard to fans from the GCC, he indicated that they can use shuttle flights to enter Qatar, and said that these one-day tickets will be announced at a later date in coordination with Qatar Airways and other air carriers.
He said the committee has begun its campaign to raise awareness on obtaining Hayya cards for fans, saying that the campaign was paying off as demand for the card and accommodation has picked up.
The CEO of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 explained that there are plans under review regarding the transfer of Saudi fans to the State of Qatar through the land crossing, with buses transporting fans from the Salwa border crossing to Doha Metro stations in order to connect them to stadiums or other state facilities. He added that there are also ideas about the exit of these buses from inside Saudi Arabia, but that these details will be announced officially soon.
On preparations for hosting the World Cup, he said that the committee is finishing up all details that will help fans feel that they are visiting Qatar amidst World Cup carnival, noting that there are a number of events and cultural activities that will take place during the World Cup.
The CEO of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 confirmed that Qatar's winning World Cup bid 12 years ago drove the country to develop its infrastructure, particularly sporting facilities. He added that those who visited Qatar before will notice radical changes during the World Cup. He promised that fans will experience an exceptional World Cup experience in Qatar.
On precautionary measures during the World Cup, He said that the Ministry of Health has developed a COVID-19 plan regarding entry to Qatar. He expressed his hope that the tournament will be held in a normal atmosphere as the disease enters an endemic phase.
As for the Lusail Super Cup, which brings together the Egyptian and Saudi league champions on Sep. 9 at the opening of the World Cup's largest stadium with 80,000 fans capacity, Al Khater indicated that 8000 tickets were sold in the first hour of the sales launch. He added that as of yesterday, a total of 60,000 tickets were sold, with the rest set to be sold within the next 48 hours.
The CEO of the World Cup explained that the Lusail Super Cup will be the World Cup's dress rehearsal, as the match will see the introduction of a number of World Cup-related initiatives, most notably the Hayya card. He highlighted the high demand for match tickets, which will be accompanied by a large concert. He added that the Hayya card will also be used with transport buses for fans wanting to reach the stadium.
Al Khater concluded his remarks by saying that a detailed announcement will be made and sent to all ticket holders. (QNA)