Tuesday 23 November 2021, 14:00

Infantino: FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ preparations are ‘best ever’

  • FIFA President speaking in Doha as part of the Education Speaker Series

  • Discussion explored social, cultural and economic legacy of the tournament

  • President Infantino was joined by Supreme Committee Secretary General Hassan Al Thawadi and Machaille Hassan Al-Naimi, President of Community Development, Qatar Foundation

Qatar is more ready to host a FIFA World Cup™ than any nation in history and will deliver the “best World Cup ever”, FIFA President Gianni Infantino has told Qatar Foundation’s Education City Speaker Series as the build-up to the global sporting showpiece enters its final year. A virtual event held to mark the one-year countdown to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ – which kicks off on 21 November 2022 – heard how the tournament will create a cultural, social, and economic legacy for Qatar and the region, including through cruise ships that will act as ‘floating hotels’ for fans going on to play a post-World Cup role in boosting Qatar’s tourism and industry. During the discussion, titled FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™: The Countdown to History, Qatar Foundation (QF) and the FIFA Foundation announced a new partnership focused on inclusivity and engaging young people of different abilities through sport, including a Football for Schools app that will go global in 2022.

“I have never seen a country so ready to host a World Cup as Qatar,” President Infantino told the Education City Speaker Series. “In terms of infrastructure, everything is ready, which means that for the next year we can focus on making sure every fan coming to Qatar will have an incredible experience in a welcoming part of the world, in a great country and in a great region. It will not only be the best World Cup ever, but also a truly unique one.” Speaking about how the first FIFA World Cup™ in the Middle East and the Arab world will support FIFA’s efforts to grow the global game, the President said: “Our vision at FIFA is really to make football truly global. We often say it is a global sport, but (when) you scratch beneath the surface, you realize that top professional football is still very concentrated between a few teams in Europe. We need to give more opportunities and more access to the world through football, and the Arab world, in this respect, is crucial in this. “There is a population of 450 million people, and there is a great passion for football among the Arab world. I think it is absolutely fitting to have the World Cup here for the first time in history. I believe that World Cup, being such an amazing event, really has the power to inspire young generations and develop football at all different levels.”

He continued: “We, at FIFA, in Qatar, and everyone that is part of the team organizing the FIFA World Cup, want to really embrace sustainability, because we want to make football, and the impact that football has in the world, better from one World Cup to the next. The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ will really be a highlight, because we have the commitment from Qatar and that is something unique, that will be seen from now until the World Cup (finals), but much more importantly, after the World Cup as well.” His Excellency Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy was also on the panel and described the tournament as “a great opportunity to showcase the culture, heritage, and hospitality of this part of the world”. He added: “The World Cup is a gateway for piquing the interest of people from all walks of life to come to Qatar, the Middle East, and the Arab world, and for us to showcase ourselves to the world. Machaille Hassan Al-Naimi, President of Community Development, Qatar Foundation added: “At QF, we are a living, breathing city within a city, and we are playing a very unique role in supporting the World Cup from the perspective of sustainability, research, and community development, all of which are core mission areas for us. “We want to ensure tournament volunteers learn about our Arabic language, history, and culture, so the legacy of the volunteer program extends beyond the World Cup.”