Tuesday 16 August 2022, 10:00

Living Football: 100 days to go

  • Latest episode celebrates 100 days to go until the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

  • Omani FIFA Legend Ali Al Habsi tells us what the World Cup will mean for the Middle East

  • We hear from some of the Qatar 2022 match officials after they attended three seminars between May and June

The celebrations surrounding the 100 days to go milestone until the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ is the main focus of this special edition of Living Football.

With preparations for the world's biggest sporting event nearly complete in the host nation, and to mark 100 days to Qatar 2022, we asked Ali Al Habsi what this World Cup means for football in the region and the legacy it will leave in the Middle East. Al Habsi was the first Omani to play professionally in Europe, where he enjoyed lengthy spells in Norway and England. The former goalkeeper was also a regular captain of his national team until he hung up his boots in 2020.

"When I started playing football, the idea of staging the World Cup here in the Middle East was a dream for us. So when you see it in a country like Qatar... it shows that dreams can come true," said Al Habsi, who made 136 appearances for his national team. "Hosting a World Cup in the Middle East is a big step for us. I‘m sure that after it takes place, football will continue to grow there," he said, before stressing how important the last FIFA Arab Cup had been in demonstrating to the rest of the world Qatar’s preparedness to stage this great competition. The episode also shows how the match officials for Qatar 2022 are continuing their preparations for the big event, including attending seminars where semi-automated offisde technology (SOAT) was one of the main topics under discussion. Between May and June, three seminars were held to thoroughly prepare the 36 referees, 69 assistant referees and 24 members of VAR team chosen from all six confederations to officiate at this year’s World Cup, which for the first time in its history will feature female match officials. We hear from some of those who will be taking part, as well as Pierluigi Collina, Chairman of FIFA’s Referee Committee, and Massimo Busacca, FIFA's Director of Refereeing, who jointly headed up the seminars.