By Rumana Shaikh
The Secretary General for the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi recently gave an interview to CNN, in which he discussed what the hurriedly approaching 2022 FIFA World Cup means to Qatar and its residents. More importantly, he addressed some of the concerns that have been raised and have put Qatar under the spotlight.
Since Qatar won the bid for the 2022 World Cup, it’s been under heavy scrutiny and has often been questioned regarding the rights of its migrant workers who have been working to build the stadia where the World Cup tournaments will take place. With regards to this, Mr. Thawadi said, “Progress needs to be made where it’s sustainable and permanent.”
He said that change needs to be made not in order to appease critics temporarily, but rather that it’s something that should be done as a result of the beliefs, values and principles that Qatar holds, so that even after the World Cup ends, positive progress can continue to carry forward. Exploitation, he said, is not exclusive only to Qatar but happens worldwide. There are laws in place to keep the rights of workers in check, Mr. Thawadi said, but there have been people who have not applied the laws.
(Photo:Workers take a break during construction of the new Qatar National Museum. Image courtesy of iStock by Getty Images. For illustrative purposes only.)
Contrary to popular belief, Mr. Thawadi said, football for Qatar is not a glitzy project or an indulgence, but an evolution for Qatar that started even before the country received its independence in 1971. It’s a social movement that has now become a part of the community.
Reflecting on Qatar’s win in the bid for the 2022 World Cup, Mr. Thawadi said, “That win, I still get goosebumps when I see that because that’s the essence.”
Mr. Thawadi said he has no doubts whatsoever that Qatar will deliver the FIFA World Cup in 2022. He said that this event is not limited to just football, but that it will be a benchmark for Qatar to host future events. While the Middle East has lately been represented in a negative light, he said that the region is rich in culture, hospitality and sense of humour.
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