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AFC President throws weight behind Qatar ahead of FIFA World Cup

With just 15 days remaining before the mega event kicks off, Al Khalifa in a statement published on the AFC website on Saturday urged the global football family to firmly unite behind the sporting spectacle.

"The extraordinary efforts of the State of Qatar, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the Qatar Football Association, FIFA and all the stakeholders will ensure that the FIFA World Cup 2022 becomes an incredible success that will be remembered for all times to come," he said.

Qatar has pushed back against criticism as it prepares for the global event to take place for the first time in an Arab country. The FIFA World Cup begins in Doha on November 20 and concludes on December 18, which is also Qatar’s National Day. It will be only the second time that an Asian country will host the tournament, following the Korea/Japan FIFA World Cup in 2002.

"Now more than ever, it is crucial for all of us to wholeheartedly complement their efforts by offering our full support to the tournament in order to help football realise its true potential and build bridges of solidarity and peace through the beautiful game," said Al Khalifa.

"No other sport has the unique power to bring us all together in a positive spirit of joy, excitement and optimism, and there is no other competition better positioned than the FIFA World Cup to send out a resoundingly inclusive message of goodwill and peace in these difficult times," he added.

The AFC President also emphasised the importance of delivering a successful competition.

"A successful FIFA World Cup in Qatar is the need of the hour as it is the pathway to foster and promote understanding and solidarity, and it is my sincere hope that in these challenging times, we will not be distracted from appreciating the great joy football, as a unifying force for good, is capable of bringing us," he said.

The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will feature a record six Asian teams as well as the largest-ever cast of 19 Asian match officials.

–IANS<br>mukesh/arm

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