The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is unique in many ways and one of them is that the participating teams will get the most suitable facilities before and during the tournament. Qatar’s organisers started work on finding best base camps for world’s top 32 teams soon after the country won the rights to host the World Cup in 2010, and they have achieved their mission with flying colours.
The committee identified and selected 40 suitable base camps for the teams and match officials. Many of the facilities were tested during the FIFA Club World Cup and FIFA Arab Cup, with teams experiencing the facilities giving the thumbs up.
For the first time in history of the FIFA World Cup, teams will stay and train in one location throughout the event – meaning more time for rest and preparation, and minimal travel times on match days, thanks to country’s compact nature. A total of 33 base camps will be used during the World Cup – 32 of them by participating teams and one by the match officials.
Two-time champions Argentina confirmed the Qatar University (QU) as their base camp during the World Cup, with coach Lionel Scaloni expressing his delight over the facilities. “We can sleep there and the training is very close. What really interests me is that we are in one place and we can train and sleep in the same place. Don’t grab a bus, go back and forth,” he said.
The training sites for the teams are modern, state-of-the-art facility built or upgraded specifically for the tournament. Each training site has been developed to include floodlit, natural grass pitches – with the turf grown at the SC’s Tree & Turf Nursery in Qatar.
Each site also includes stands for media during training sessions, dressing rooms, medical facilities, recovery facilities, a media centre, and IT and communications networks.
Last month, 2018 FIFA World Cup finalists Croatia spent time at the Al Ersal training facility ahead of friendly matches in Doha against Slovenia and Bulgaria, and their coach Zlatko Dalic praised the facilities.
With Qatar aiming to set new sustainability benchmarks for a mega-event, the country already has plans to utilise the facilities after the tournament. The organisers plan to convert some of the pitches as public parks, while others will be used by football clubs and schools.