Football: a Pan-Arab Cup in Qatar to prepare for the 2022 World Cup

Abdel Karim Hassan during Qatar's victory in the 2019 Asian Nations Cup. Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

Text by: David Kalfa Follow

The International Football Federation (FIFA) has supported the holding of a Pan Arab Cup of Nations from December 1 to 18, 2021 in Qatar. This competition, which will bring together national teams from Africa and Asia, will serve as a test for the emirate one year from the 2022 World Cup.


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The International Football Federation (FIFA) did not surprise by appointing Australia and New Zealand as organizers of the 2023 Women's World Cup. However, the government (Council) of FIFA has further aroused curiosity by announcing its support for Qatar's desire to organize a "pan-Arab tournament".

This competition will bring together national male teams from Arab countries from two different confederations - Africa and Asia - outside the FIFA windows reserved for international competitions. The invited selections, which will be made up of local players, will be in effect from December 1 to 18, 2021 in Qatar. Or, potentially, just a few weeks before the 2022 African Nations Championship scheduled in Algeria.

A test for the 2022 World Cup

FIFA's decision is obviously not entirely selfless. This 2021 Arab Nations Cup will take place a year before the next World Cup (November 21 to December 18, 2022). With the abolition of the Confederations Cup, which served between 2001 and 2017 as a mini-test for the host countries, Qatar found itself without any real possibility of gauging its organizational capacities and its infrastructures. For the moment, two of the eight stadiums supposed to host meetings of the 2022 World Cup have hosted major events. Because the coronavirus crisis has somewhat slowed preparations for the final phase.

It remains to be seen how many countries, among the 22 affiliated to the Union of Arab Football Associations, will agree to participate in this "pan-Arab tournament". Qatar has been in acute conflict since 2017 with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. “  The creation of this pan-Arab tournament confirms our long-standing commitment that the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be a competition that will benefit the entire Arab world, which will show the beauty of the region and the immense passion that surrounds it. exists for football,  "said secretary general of the Organizing Committee for the 2022 World Cup, Hassan Al Thawadi.

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