Former Scottish international Graeme Souness has opined that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be a boon to travelling fans and players alike, due to the relatively short travelling time between venues.
The two farthest stadiums in Qatar are only an hour's travel apart and Souness feels this will enrich the experience of the fans and help the players perform to their optimum.
"The world will see something totally unprecedented in Qatar. It’s amazing that the two farthest stadiums are within an hour of each other. Fans can stay in the same hotel throughout and really enjoy the football – potentially watching two matches a day. It’s fantastic," he told www.sc.qa during a visit to the Supreme Committee (SC) for Delivery & Legacy’s Legacy Pavilion.
The Liverpool legend recounted his experiences of travelling from venue-to-venue in World Cups and explained why players will be able to showcase their best.
"Being on the road is not just about time and energy being lost. Moving from hotel to hotel – different beds, different pillows – I know how difficult the process can be for professional players who are trained to focus on their next match.
"Travelling between games is not easy, whether the tournament is held in a big country, in my case Argentina in 1978, or relatively smaller ones, such as Spain in 1982 and Mexico in 1986.
"Today’s players may be super-fit athletes but spending a few hours in a pressurised cabin at regular intervals is bound to effect people. The World Cup is such a demanding affair – we saw Croatia had three back-to-back extra-time periods in Russia – and factors such as being based in one place and playing mid-season will make a positive difference," he said.
He went on the describe the Qatar World Cup as 'great news' and revealed he was looking forward to the spectacle.
"For football, Qatar 2022 is great news. It’s only the second World Cup to be hosted in Asia, which doesn’t sound right when you consider the enormous interest in football across the region. The big clubs in England have been reaching out to Asia for a number of years, so it’s fitting the tournament is returning to this part of the world.
"Personally, I’m looking forward to Qatar. Many people were concerned about this year’s tournament in Russia, but it has turned out to be an outstanding success. I’m sure it will be a similar story in Qatar."