World Cup

Hassan Al Thawadi: 2022 World Cup in Qatar will smash prejudices and foster unity

06:59 SAST 2022/04/02
Al Thawadi believes that this tournament will showcase the middle east to the world through a new and refreshed lens

Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), is confident that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be the best in history.

SC, the organisation responsible for the delivery of infrastructure for the global showpiece event in 2022, has worked for the past 12 years to make this footballing extravaganza a grand success and with just months away from kickoff, the gulf country is ready to deliver the fans a memorable experience.

"The journey that my country has embarked on since being awarded the rights to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, has spanned almost 12 years. 12 years of continuous work dedicated to delivering the tournament that we believe will be the best FIFA World Cup in history. 12 years, dedicated to ensuring this World Cup leaves truly transformational, social, human, economic and environmental legacies to be remembered as a landmark moment in the history of our region," he said.

Thawadi views the World Cup as a platform to improve the understanding of the Middle East as a region. He sees it as an opportunity to showcase the rich cultural heritage and the hospitality of the Arab people.

"As World Cup hosts, we are acutely aware of the international spotlight that comes with the hosting rights for the greatest show on earth. We are committed to welcoming the world to enhancing understanding through the power of football in the spirit of openness, transparency and dialogue. It is a precious responsibility that we shoulder to ensure that the first World Cup in our region is representative of our region.

"Our people are bound together through food, language, culture and history. And our various countries maintain their own subtle differences in characteristics. But there is one thing that binds us together with no caveats, our love and passion for football and the World Cup. It is our opportunity to showcase the Arab world and the Middle East to the population of the world through a new and refreshed lens."

He hopes that the World Cup will change people's prejudices about the Middle East.

"In an era when prejudice reigns supreme, where commentary so often exposes double standards and an era when the politics of division so often succeed over those who dream to unite, we need these platforms of unity, to counter the prejudices, the double standards and the division. And this World Cup is that platform, and not just for our region, but for the world," the official stated.

Thawadi stressed that Qatar is creating a long-lasting legacy through this World Cup and everyone involved with this magnum opus is a precious asset. They are committed to better human lives and this World Cup has given them the perfect opportunity to do so.

"We're creating legacy before a ball has even been kicked. The International Labour Organization has described Qatar's reforms as historic. International Trade Union Confederation considers Qatar's updated laws as a benchmark for the region. The Building and Woodworkers International has compared the safety standards on World Cup sites as equal to those in Europe or North America. Ladies and gentlemen, take a moment's pause. And remember that a number of these entities that I have mentioned were at one time outspoken adversaries of ours.

"But through taking time to understand the complexities of the situation on the ground, and through a shared commitment to improving lives, those who were adversaries, became allies and partners in a shared journey to ensuring that this World Cup makes a difference and leaves a difference. Not for 28 days, not for a few months, but for long term sustainable progress.

"Our government has always committed to this process. What the World Cup has done, it has assisted in accelerating the process, through the vision and drive of our government, through the support of FIFA, as supported by international partners and constructive dialogue, we have been able to achieve this progress, a dialogue, transparency in dialogue, having the same goals and sharing the same objectives, working together," he expressed.

Thawadi hopes that Qatar would set a benchmark for other global events to understand how the nation created a legacy in social, humanitarian, environmental, and economic fields.

"We have showcased to the world I think what a tournament being hosted in a country can achieve when we talk about legacy. And when we talk about legacy, I think going forward, international organizations could look towards us as a benchmark in understanding and learning and educating themselves on how to utilize these tournaments to leave a legacy, whether it be social, humanitarian, environmental, or economic. But it happens through partnerships and through long term commitments, which we have exemplified day in and day out.

"I urge you to knock on our doors and see what is happening. I'm confident that when you see what we've done, you will recognize that we will be the benchmark upon which future tournaments will look in terms of achieving some of the objectives that we've been able to achieve," he opined.