DOHA: Gianni Infantino has praised Qatar’s progress in preparing to stage the 2022 World Cup finals after a flying visit to Doha on his way to a FIFA Council meeting in Kigali, Rwanda.

After seeing progress on the 40,000-capacity Al Wakrah stadium, Infantino said: “You can see the progress which is being made here four years before kickoff. The stadium is very impressive. When you enter here you immediately feel how imposing it is.”

“The Russian World Cup has been the best ever but the World Cup in 2022 in Qatar — I am sure — will be even better.”

The next tournament’s logistics were further complicated last year when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut diplomatic, transport and trade ties with Qatar, accusing it of financing terrorism, a charge Qatar denies.

Qatar has nonetheless said it is pushing ahead with ambitious infrastructure plans to host the World Cup — the centrepiece of Doha’s strategy to project itself on the global stage — and has since inaugurated a $7.4 billion (£5.7 billion) port and expects to open its first metro by the end of this year.