Sunday 27 November 2022, 09:00

Marcel Desailly visits waste segregators

  • Tribute paid to the waste segregators at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™

  • Over 600 tonnes of waste composted and recycled across the tournament

  • Marcel Desailly: the FIFA World Cup™ is "a golden opportunity to get key messages across"

"Put all the recyclable waste in the blue rubbish bin and the rest in the one with a black label." The message from Marcel Desailly, ambassador for the #SaveThePlanet campaign, could not be any clearer, and if it is taken on board and applied correctly, it will play a part in the ambitious management programme for the waste generated by the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

In addition to a whole host of measures designed to reduce the amount of waste, the content of each rubbish bin in each stadium at the FIFA World Cup™ is inspected meticulously and separated by hand to ensure that everything is correctly collected and recycled. This task is carried out by workers whose dedication was praised on Sunday at Education City Stadium in Doha.

"We would very much like to thank you for your work which is enabling us to keep our stadiums clean and reach our targets in terms of waste segregation,” said a delighted Bodour Al-Meer, Sustainable Director at the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, to the 30 or so waste segregators in the stands. 

"This World Cup will only be a success if we can reduce our impact on the environment. You are playing a crucial role in achieving this aim and we are incredibly grateful to you," added Federico Addiechi, Head of Sustainability and the Environment at FIFA, to warm applause from the workers sitting in the shade, who were then treated to a surprise visit from FIFA Legend Marcel Desailly.

After a short speech, the French World Cup-winner went to talk to the waste segregators and pose for selfies, before seeing for himself what their work involves. After three matches, 41 tonnes of waste have been recycled and composted at Education City alone, and over 600 tonnes have been successfully processed thus far across the entire tournament. The former French centre back was highly impressed and came away even more determined to hammer home his message of using the right bin to make the waste segregators’ jobs a little easier.

"I feel directly involved because I live in Africa and I get to see on a daily basis the impact that waste can have if it is not properly separated and recycled," he said to "I regularly go out to take part in awareness activities, but often you’re dealing with people who are struggling to make ends meet and who are simply trying to survive day by day, and it’s really difficult to explain to them that they have to be keep an eye on where bottles or plastic bags end up. It’s a long and drawn-out process and you need to be patient and ready to teach people by example."

Here in Qatar, Desailly has decided to give FIFA and the Host Country a helping hand in their attempts to influence recycling behaviour on the widest possible scale. "Back in my day, what you took away from a World Cup was purely football-based, like pushing your limits, working hard, being creative… We didn’t get involved in protecting the planet. A huge event like this one with all the attention that it attracts is a golden opportunity to get key messages across," the 54-year-old concluded.