Qatar marks 3-year countdown to World Cup 2022

A new photography project maps Gulf state's football culture through eyes of its citizens and residents.

    Qatar is working to boost infrastructure ahead of the 2022 World Cup [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]
    Qatar is working to boost infrastructure ahead of the 2022 World Cup [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

    Qatar has marked the three-year countdown to hosting the 2020 FIFA World Cup with a new series intended to highlight the country's football culture.

    The photo series features personal stories by more than 30 people - a mix of Qataris and foreign residents - who were each given a disposable camera by Goal Click, the global football storytelling and photography project, to capture the role of football in their lives.

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    The photos and stories show the intimate realities of Qatari football culture from the perspective of workers, fans, journalists, coaches, and both amateur and professional players.

    "If you place a football anywhere here, you will see people engaged and playing the game. It's the most popular sport in Qatar, and through photographs, we can show the world Qatar's love for football," Hamad Abdulaziz, a football coach participating in the project said. 

    Goal Click has run similar programmes in more than 120 countries, including Iraq, Sierra Leone and Brazil

    Preparations ramp up

    Earlier this week, Qatar signed an agreement with MSC Cruises to charter two cruise liners to accommodate fans during the 2020 FIFA World Cup.

    The vessels have a combined capacity of 4,000 cabins and will act as floating hotels during the competition.

    Qatar's Minister for Communications and Transport Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti said significant progress had been made in the country's preparations for the month-long tournament, which will kick-off on November 21, 2022.

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    Al Sulaiti said development had been completed on the Doha Port "to accommodate multiple large passenger ships and enable the port's capacity to receive the largest cruise ships in the world".

    Under the terms of the agreement, Qatar will charter the MSC Europa and MSC Poesia. The former is currently under construction in France and scheduled for delivery in 2022.

    The MSC Europa is set to be the first ship in the MSC Cruises' fleet to run on Liquid Natural Gas, reducing the carbon footprint of the vessel.

    The cruise ships will be served by shuttle buses, which will take fans to metro stops connected to stadiums, fan zones and other attractions.

    In addition to the floating hotels, fans attending the tournament will have the option of staying at apartments, fan villages and regular hotels.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies