Leaders from the World Health Organization, Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health, FIFA, and Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) convened on 3 February for the second Sport for Health Steering Committee meeting in Geneva.

In October 2021, the four organizations signed a unique three-year partnership to make the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ a beacon for physical and mental health promotion, and a model for ensuring future mega sport events are healthy and safe.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General, Chaired the Steering Committee meeting during which leaders discussed the wide range of health actions delivered to date by the Sport for Health partners under three key pillars: Health Promotion; Health Security; and Health Communications, including:

Health Promotion:

o Physical Activity: The Bring the Moves social media campaign encouraging children to be more physically active.

o Nutrition and Healthy Diets: Almost one third of food options at FIFA World Cup 2022™ stadiums met the WHO criteria for healthy food.

o Mental Health: Installation of 32 “Friendship Benches” – one for each nation competing in the?FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ – in the eight tournament stadiums to promote mental health and physical activity.

o Tobacco Control: Ban on tobacco and e-cigarettes at Qatar’s eight FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ stadiums, ensuring fans enjoyed smoke-free air while enjoying the games

Health Security:

o Extensive work to ensure a safe FIFA World Cup for all attendees, including emergency preparedness and response, food safety, infectious diseases, drug and medication control, sun and heat awareness, air and water quality, and the delivery of regular training and simulation exercises.

Her Excellency Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Qatar’s Minister of Public Health, said: “The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 was a unique event in the history of FIFA World Cups for many reasons, one of which is that this was the safest and healthiest World Cup ever. I am proud of the achievements of the Sport for Health partnership and its positive impact on the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. This unique partnership was a major factor in helping Qatar deliver the healthiest and safest FIFA World Cup in history. I extend my thanks to all staff and to the leaders of WHO, FIFA and the SC for their commitment today to working together to ensure we pass on the lessons learned from this experience to organizers of future mega sporting events.”

His Excellency Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy said, “Qatar’s vision for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ was always clear: to deliver the best edition of the tournament in its 93-year history, gather the world in the Middle East for the first time in a global celebration, and deliver a sustainable and impactful legacy for Qatar, the region and the world. Set against the challenges of COVID-19, we achieved all this, and more.

“Throughout, the Sport for Health partnership has not only been a key pillar in delivering the healthiest world up ever but also in ensuring that best practices were developed and shared for future mega-events. We look forward to sharing that knowledge, contributing to the success of future events around the world, and adding to the profound legacy that our world cup leaves behind.”

Source: Ministry of Public Health