Russian President, Vladimir Putin, Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and FIFA President Gianni Infantino, took part in a ceremony to hand over the role of FIFA World Cup hosts from Russia to Qatar on Sunday in Moscow.
The trio gathered in the Georgievsky Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace and, in place of a baton to symbolise the changing of the Host Nation, they used the official match ball for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia knockout rounds, the adidas Telstar Mechta. Mr Putin himself took it down from the podium and handed it to the Emir of Qatar.
Russia 2018 came to an end on Sunday, as France defeated Croatia 4-2 in the Final at the Luzhniki Stadium to become world champions for the next four years. The next World Cup will be held in Qatar from 21 November to 18 December 2022.
According to the Russian President: â€œToday is a ceremonious occasion as Russia passes the FIFA World Cup torch to the state of Qatar. The World Cup is coming to an end in Russia. We are proud of what weâ€™ve managed to achieve for fans of this wonderful sport.
â€œThe whole country has taken enormous pleasure from interacting with the world of football and the fans who have visited us from all over the planet. I am sure our friends from Qatar will manage to stage the 2022 FIFA World Cup just as exceptionally.
â€œIt goes without saying that we are ready to share the experience weâ€™ve built up hosting the World Cup with our Qatari friends. We will do everything to ensure football can carry out its amazing and humanitarian role of uniting people, countries and continents,â€ concludes Putin.
FIFA President also spoke highly of the exceptional show put up by Russia:â€œDear Mr President, Your Highness, I am a happy person today. Welcome, dear friends,â€ the head of the world governing body said in English, Russian and Arabic. â€œThese words have accompanied us for this entire month and will accompany us further over the next four years.
â€œItâ€™s a huge honour to be in such a special place, the Kremlin, to celebrate the end of the 2018 World Cup and pass on the torch to the organisers of the 2022 World Cup.
â€œFootball is all about passion, emotions, love, family and unity â€“ we have experienced this fully in Russia and now weâ€™re handing it over to Qatar. I am sure that in four years we will see the same energy, the same positive influence in Qatar as we have seen in Russia. I can certainly say we have fallen in love with Russia. And Iâ€™m sure that in four years we will all love Qatar. This is already happening. We invite everyone to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar!â€ stressed Infantino with optimism.
Emir of Qatar also gave assurance to emulate the good hosting put up by Russia: â€œMr President, allow me to congratulate you and the Russian nation on a fantastic World Cup, which we hope to host just as successfully.
â€œIâ€™d also like to express my gratitude to the members of the Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee, who are helping our colleagues from the Qatar 2022 Organising Committee. We look forward to continuing to work alongside our friends from Russia.
â€œI would like to thank Mr Gianni Infantino and congratulate him on a successful 2018 FIFA World Cup. We hope to enjoy a fruitful partnership until 2022.
â€œStaging the 2022 World Cup in our country is a really important event in the history of Qatar. I remember that when our country was awarded the right to host the World Cup, it was a huge celebration for the whole Arabic world. I invite all of our friends to come as guests.
We really hope our national team will repeat the success of Russia and maybe even go further. We will try to at the very least!â€ conclude Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.