Entire region ‘to benefit from World Cup in Qatar’

Gulf Times, 16-11-2010 12:11:48

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The CEO of the Qatar 2022 Bid Committee has made an impassioned case for a first ever World Cup in the Middle East, saying the event would bring enormous benefits to the entire region. 


 “A World Cup in Qatar in 2022 has the power to inject the region with a newfound unity and economic diversity, driving an influx of businesses in new markets, increasing employment opportunities and raise the profile of Qatar and the region,” Hassan al-Thawadi said on the opening day of the Aspire4Sport Exhibition and Congress yesterday.

Making a presentation on the topic “The impact of a Middle Eastern World Cup”, al-Thawadi said Qatar’s bid was “a truly regional bid” which, if successful, would make the entire region proud.

 “Regional governments as well as public and private sectors will be engaged in the development of World Cup infrastructure, public transportation, telecommunications, and other key sectors,” al-Thawadi said.
 “A World Cup in Qatar is predicted to enhance interest in football to such an extent that additional players, spectators and television viewers will increase expenditure in the wider football economy by an additional $10bn to $37bn by 2022.”

Al-Thawadi said Qatar had already made a significant impact with its bid even though the actual event was almost 12 years away.

 “Twelve years of planning, preparation and intense economic activity and development before the event will undoubtedly result in a boost for the whole region, creating opportunities for collaboration and mutual investment.”

With just over two weeks to go before the FIFA’s executive committee decides the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups on December 2, al-Thawadi said, Qatar had already raised the region’s profile.
 “The benefits of our bid are many. It has touched many lives, won over many sceptics, and altered perceptions of Qatar and the region.

 “It has enabled us to not only raise the profile of the region as a whole but has allowed us to be a conduit for fast tracking the country’s vision and plans.”

Al-Thawadi stressed that there was great interest in Qatar’s bid and that the country had gained tremendous respect and admiration because of it.

 “Today, what was once a dark horse candidate for the World Cup is a serious contender for the greatest tournament in sport.” he said. “Even before decision day, great strides have been taken. Initially there have been many misconceptions about the region.”

Al-Thawadi pointed out that a World Cup in Qatar would result in a positive change in attitudes worldwide.
 “From the beginning, our case has been simple and consistent. FIFA and the international football movement have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the hearts and minds of people about the Middle East, to change the economics of the World Cup, to change football itself. The Qatar 2022 bid represents an opportunity to be a transformative event.”

The bid CEO also dismissed security concerns and worries about lack of passion.
 “Qatar is the 15th safest country in the world according to Global Peace Index,” he said.
“There were questions about football passion and local support. However, the region has hundreds of millions of ardent football fans whose enthusiasm for the sport rivals any other country on the planet.”
He said that Qatar would not only put in place all that was necessary to host the World Cup, but would even surpass FIFA’s requirements.

 “Slowly but surely, not only have we addressed any challenges or concerns, not only have we met all the FIFA requirements but we have also went forward to turn any challenge into a positive contribution.
 “Through the commitment and support of our leadership, we have met and in many cases exceeded FIFA’s requirements.”

Underlining Qatar’s meticulous plans, he said that even simulated stress tests had been conducted on the proposed new transport network to ensure there would be no problems during the event.
 “We have taken a step further to realising this objective by conducting a stress test to confirm the capability of the proposed transport network. The simulation involved holding four matches in one day with an estimated 188,000 spectators in attendance.

“The match schedules and stadium selections all fared well in the stress tests, guaranteeing safe, quick, efficient and reliable modes of transportation in 2022.”




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