AL THAWADI: 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR A CATALYST FOR GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT OF FOOTBALL

Doha, -The Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), Hassan Al Thawadi, has said that Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be a catalyst for the global development of football.

Kicking off the Soccerex Asian Forum 2016 in Doha, Al Thawadi said the first ever World Cup in the Middle East and the second in Asia will accelerate the development of emerging football territories in accordance with the vision of Soccerex founder, the late Duncan Revie.

He said: “Duncan had the foresight and vision in the 1990s to form Soccerex, an event which has been at the forefront during the process of the globalisation of football which started during that decade in England.” He continued: “Now we are living in an age of many football markets outside Europe developing their own leagues and owning clubs in Europe. The hosting of the World Cup in Qatar in 2022 will accelerate the global development of football.” Al Thawadi said that he has fond memories of the SC’s involvement in previous editions of Soccerex and hoped delegates of the 2016 Asian forum will be able to reap the benefits of the sport networking event.

After the opening remarks, the SC Secretary General presented the inaugural Duncan Revie Award to Richard Tims, Chairman of Sheffield FC.

In the first panel session of the day, SC Assistant Secretary General for Tournament Affairs, Nasser Al Khater, said that Qatar is on course towards fast-tracking social, economic and environmental change through the hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar in line with the country’s 2030 National Vision.

“The World Cup is a catalyst to accelerate the emergence of Qatar as a knowledge-based economy by 2030 and our human, social, environmental and technological initiatives built around the hosting of the World Cup have proven to be very successful in the country and the region,” said Al Khater.

He added: “The idea was to look at a multi-pronged approach towards sustainable growth and projects such as Generation Amazing and Challenge 22 have been successful endeavours.” Al Khater said sustainability is also the guiding principle in the construction of the stadiums for 2022. “We are not merely building stadiums but scripting well-researched legacy plans into the designs of every single stadium and precinct,” he told the delegates gathered in Doha.

“There have been instances of some World Cup stadiums not having been used following the event. However, Qatar will be different. We have consulted with local communities and have built precincts with amenities such as schools.

“We are also building modular seating in stadiums which can be dismantled after the tournament so that we need not be saddled with white elephants. Some stadiums will be fully dismantled and re-used after the tournament.” Al Khater said sustainability is also the guiding principle in the construction of the stadiums for 2022. “We are not merely building stadiums but scripting well-researched legacy plans into the designs of every single stadium and precinct,” said Al Khater.

“There have been instances of some World Cup stadiums not having been used following the event. However, Qatar will be different. We have consulted with local communities and have built precincts with amenities such as schools. We are also building modular seating in stadiums which can be dismantled after the tournament so that we need not be saddled with white elephants. Some stadiums will be fully dismantled and re-used after the tournament.” Al Khater noted he is happy with the progress in the eight 2022 proposed host venues that are under various stages of construction. “We are ahead of schedule in all eight venues,” he said adding that it would be an ideal number for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar . However, Al Khater added the SC would be guided by the views of FIFA about the final stadium count for the historic event.

“Unfortunately, we have been under malicious and unwarranted attack from some sections. I believe we have always responded to criticism that is constructive. I appeal to all to come to Qatar and see the situation for yourself and then come forward with constructive criticism rather than resorting to the easier option of criticising with little or no basis.” Al Khater also said that he’s confident that the national team will progress far in the home World Cup. “I am confident that the national team will reach far in 2022 and that the tournament will do to Qatar football what it did to the Japanese national team after 2002,” he said.

In the afternoon session, Xavi Hernandez talked about his experiences working with the SC’s Generation Amazing programme after his recent visit to Jordan to meet and inspire children in a refugee camp there. He later engaged in a football freestyling session with renowned freestyler Sean Garnier, who also works with the Generation Amazing programme.(END)

Source: Qatar News Agency

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