India the next big market for soccer, says al-Thawadi

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Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy Secretary-General Hassan al-Thawadi has called India the next big market for football and expressed Qatar’s desire to “capture” it.
“Oh, absolutely it (India) is a major global country. In terms of fans, it is important to highlight a few facts, first the biggest expat population of Qatar is the Indian population. Qatar has a very close relationship with India,” al-Thawadi told visiting media in Doha,” the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.
Al-Thawadi cited various examples of co-operation between Qatar and India, adding that discussions are being held between the two countries for promotional activities in the run up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
“The connection with India is built over generations, not over day and night. No doubt India is the next big market or it is recognised as the next big market, when it comes to football and that’s why a lot of international players (are) going in India,” al-Thawadi was quoted as saying by PTI. 
“A lot of fantastic work (former AIFF president) Praful Patel is doing in India. We saw the success of the (FIFA) U-17 World Cup in India, the fact that it has broken record in terms of attendance,” added al-Thawadi. 
The SC chief said the Indian market for football was so huge that it cannot be ignored.
“So it’s definitely a market we want to capture. How we capture it? There are many different ways, there are cross-promotional elements which we are discussing with Praful Patel, different opportunities of cross promotion. 
“There is discussion on the club level, projects on the club level, and there will be cross-promotional opportunities between us. “As Russia (FIFA World Cup 2018) ends and we start taking the mantle in promoting the World Cup, there will be many more activities that we will do to target India and the Indian subcontinent.”
PTI also reported that al-Thawadi feels India can reap economic benefits with Qatar hosting the mega-event. 
“In terms of economy, L&T (Larsen and Toubro) is working with us. There are a lot of sub-contracting opportunities which are available. And what we want to target is the technology. India has got the ability to be the next sport technology hub and Qatar is looking towards making sports industry as a vibrant part of sports economy.”
Meanwhile, International and Arab media personnel praised Qatar for the pace at which World Cup infrastructure projects was progressing.
A media delegation visited the Al Wakrah Stadium site, on the sidelines of their participation in the first Major Event Safety and Security Conference, which took place in Doha Tuesday and Wednesday.
The delegation comprised media personnel from Spain’s Sport and AS newspapers as well as German, Chinese and Russian media outlets, in addition to Press Trust of India, AFP, DPA and SNTV. 
The delegation also included journalists from Kuwaiti daily Al Qabas and Oman Daily.
The members of the delegation received detailed answers to their queries from project officials. (Source)