Monday 12 December 2022, 21:30

Legends and workers take to field at FIFA World Cup™ stadium

  • Stars of the global game gave workers the experience of a lifetime in Qatar

  • The match featuring 24 workers and the FIFA Legends took place at a FIFA World Cup™ stadium

  • FIFA President Gianni Infantino attended and officiated the opening stages

In front of more than 5,400 friends and colleagues, 24 workers integral to the delivery of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ - who had helped deliver key FIFA World Cup™ projects overseen by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) - were given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take to the field to play against, and alongside, some of the most iconic names in global football - FIFA Legends - at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha. The workers had been part of projects related to the eight state-of-the-art stadiums and 42 training sites and were selected based on their passion for football, their involvement in their community football programmes and their past participation in the Workers’ Cup – an annual tournament organised by the SC and Qatar Football Association for all those working in the country.

The FIFA Legends, who included FIFA World Cup™ winners Marco Materazzi, Roberto Carlos, Cafu, Youri Djorkaeff and Alessandro Del Piero – played two 30-minute halves. Al Thumama Stadium hosted eight matches during the FIFA World Cup. Former England captain, and two-time FIFA World Cup™ player John Terry, praised the initiative. “It’s a great idea from FIFA to give back to some of the workers who have put so much hard work into the fantastic stadiums,” he said after the game. “To open the stadium up to other fans to come and see [it] free of charge, as well. It’s fantastic. It’s just great for them to come and play with us, but also for us to meet them personally, and experience the pitch. As ex-players, it’s always nice.”

Meanwhile, one of the participants lining up against the FIFA Legends, Justice Boye Odoi from Ghana, said it was an experience he would never forget. “It was amazing,” he said after the game. “I really enjoyed everything. It was like a dream come true to see some of these guys. They are legends. The emotions were amazing, I enjoyed every bit of it. I was excited to see [Alessandro] Del Piero, especially, and Clarence Seedorf. They are amazing players. “I went one-on-one with [Marco] Materazzi. That was one of the exciting moments for me. I’ve always dreamed of playing with these guys or seeing them, so it was an amazing experience” he added. With the FIFA President, SC Secretary General Hassan Al Thawadi and H.E. Dr Ali bin Samikh Al Marri, Minister of Labour for the State of Qatar all in attendance – with President Infantino even taking the opportunity to officiate the opening stages – further opportunity was presented to showcase the strong, ongoing and joint commitment in relation to workers’ welfare that remains in place beyond the final whistle of the tournament.