Qatar, a country that has achieved a number of firsts in the world of sports, is confident of bringing the FIFA World Cup finals to the Middle East.
A delegation headed by H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani last week submitted Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid file at FIFA headquarters in Switzerland.
“It is time to bring the FIFA World Cup to the Middle East,” Sheikh Mohammed, the chairman of Qatar’s World Cup Bid Team, said at a press conference yesterday. “We know that’s a lot of work but we took the decision (to bid) because we know we have the chance to succeed,” Sheikh Mohammed added in his first official media briefing following last week’s registration.
“Our bid epitomizes FIFA’s slogan – ‘For the Game, For the World’. The World Cup in the Middle East would bring so many positive changes to our region including friendships and understanding between competitors and spectators that would extend far beyond the World Cup,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
Sheikh Mohammed – who famously lit the Asian Games flame in December 2006 – pointed out Qatar’s bold ambition is not without reason.
“We have the total support of the government. We also have the support of Mohammed bin Hammam, who is a member of the FIFA Executive Committee. We have great facilities besides the fact that our country and the region love football,” he added.
“You will see from our record that we present what we promise,” Sheikh Mohammed said. Qatar will stage the Asian Cup in 2011. Qatar was the first country to host a WTA Tour event in 2001 and last year staged the first ever MotoGP night race in the world.
When asked about the tricky hot weather in the months of June and July – a time frame backed by FIFA hierarchy before allotting the World Cup finals – Sheikh Mohammed said: “We know that FIFA will not change the dates for us, but we have plans for that too. We have plans that will help us deal with the hot weather in those two months.”
Sheikh Mohammed said Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, President of Qatar Football Association (QFA), will be member of the Board of Qatar 2022 while Hassan Al Thawadi, is the CEO of Qatar 2002 World Cup Bid Team.
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