ZURICH: FIFA is preparing to start selling tickets for the 2022 World Cup in January while still trying to find out more on Qatar’s plan to make coronavirus vaccines mandatory for spectators.

World football’s governing body became aware of the vaccination requirement only at the weekend when it was announced to state media by Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani.

FIFA would not say if it agrees with the plan or discuss the logistics behind checking the vaccination status of thousands of visiting fans.

Further details will be provided at the appropriate time in advance of the start of the ticket sales for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which is currently scheduled for January 2022, FIFA said in a statement to The Associated Press, providing the first timeline for sales.

Ten of the 13 European teams to have qualified will be known by January. Rather than starting in June as usual, this World Cup will begin on Nov 21 next year to avoid the fierce summer heat of the Gulf nation.

FIFA would not say if vaccines would be required for players and other dignitaries in Qatar where it is planning for stadiums to be full. Sheikh Khalid said Qatar was trying to secure one million doses to offer to unvaccinated fans planning to travel to Qatar.

Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2021

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