Doha: The countdown to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is gathering tempo with the match simply two years away from being hosted in West Asia for the primary time.
Asia’s second internet hosting of the FIFA World Cup can be each distinctive and thrilling, Nasser Al Khater, CEO, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, guarantees as he shares with the-AFC.com the progress, imaginative and prescient and legacy of the match.
Qatar 2022’s roll out plan of the remaining 5 stadiums – what are the tentative timelines and has COVID-19 upset plans?
Almost 90 % of all match infrastructure has been accomplished – a level of readiness that no FIFA World Cup host nation has reached this far out from the match kick-off date.
We have now inaugurated three stadiums thus far – together with Khalifa Worldwide, Al Janoub and Schooling Metropolis – whereas our fourth, Al Rayyan, is ready to be launched on 18th December two years out from the 2022 ultimate. All remaining stadiums and supporting match infrastructure can be accomplished subsequent yr, properly forward of kick-off on 21 November 2022.
Little question, the COVID-19 pandemic put the world in uncharted territory, and we needed to adapt as is the case with all main tasks around the globe.
We applied a proactive and strong prevention and mitigation technique early within the disaster that contributed considerably in the direction of lowering the unfold of the virus amongst the workforce on World Cup tasks, while sustaining the momentum of progress.
This included taking all obligatory precautions for staff, consistent with the COVID-19 preventative measures and interim pointers really helpful by Qatar’s Ministry of Public Well being (MoPH).
For instance, masks and sanitisers have been distributed throughout World Cup tasks; staff’ temperatures are taken twice day by day; a ample variety of isolation rooms have been established on all SC websites; non-essential guests to development websites have been prohibited and consciousness periods have been delivered to staff on all websites.
As well as, staff with persistent illnesses and people over 55 have been quickly taken off tasks attributable to their vulnerability to COVID-19. These staff proceed to obtain their salaries consistent with Qatari authorities coverage.
We proceed to evaluate the state of affairs every day and proceed to observe MoPH pointers to guard the well being and security of all development staff and employees.
Asia’s second FIFA World Cup has confronted many challenges throughout preparations. What has been probably the most difficult thus far?
Internet hosting any main sporting occasion of the magnitude of the FIFA World Cup little question brings with a wide range of challenges.
Nevertheless, we have now usually checked out any problem that we have now confronted as motivation and added accountability to make sure the success of this match, not solely in context of it being the primary time it’s hosted within the Center East, but in addition the second in Asia.
If I needed to choose one, I might say the most important problem over the previous ten years has been reworking the progressive ideas we introduced in our bid for the match from imaginative and prescient to actuality on the bottom.
Right this moment, with 10 years accomplished on our journey to 2022 and two years to go, I’m proud and assured in saying that we are going to little question host an distinctive match that may make the Center East, Asia and your entire footballing world proud.
A key precedence for us has additionally been making certain that the match accelerates social, environmental and financial improvement in Qatar, the area and Asia wherever potential, and leaves a long-lasting constructive legacy.
Right this moment, we’re proud to say that we have now additionally delivered in opposition to this, and can proceed to take action within the lead as much as and after 2022.
Whether or not by way of landmark staff’ welfare requirements, elevated financial collaboration between Qatar and Asia in setting up match and supporting infrastructure, higher consciousness of the significance of sustainable and environmentally pleasant practices throughout varied industries, or different legacy initiatives, the constructive impression of this match can already be felt far and huge.
We’re assured that the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 won’t solely be remembered for being a extremely profitable match, however one which heralded a brand new mega-event internet hosting mannequin that future hosts nations can observe to make sure optimum and multifaceted profit and return on funding for native and surrounding areas.
There are two foremost pan-Asian legacies of Qatar 2022. (1) Air-conditioned stadiums for leagues with heavy company patronage akin to Japan, China PR, Korea Republic and India and (2) Modular seating, dismantlable stadiums and FIFA compliant coaching grounds for growing soccer nations. How do you see this panning out sooner or later?
Proper from once we bid for the match, we dedicated to making sure that it’s one which leaves a long-lasting legacy for Qatar, Asia and the world, and helps the event of the sport.
Little question – the progressive cooling expertise we developed is a technique by way of which this may be achieved, and its constructive impression is already being felt. For instance, it lately enabled the resumption of the 2020 AFC Champions League regardless of temperatures in Qatar nearing 38 levels centigrade in September, whereas temperatures contained in the stadiums that hosted the match ranged between 21-22 levels.
Submit 2022, we’re open to share our data and experience concerning the cooling expertise with different soccer associations from AFC nations. For instance, it may very well be a consideration for the three East Asian giants – Japan, Korea and China – who have already got great infrastructure in place, however play a considerable chunk of their home seasons throughout the summer time months.
In India, too, soccer is on the rise and infrastructure due to this in addition to as a result of internet hosting of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup is enhancing.
The curiosity in soccer there’s doubtless to enhance with Indian golf equipment beginning to get common publicity within the AFC Champions League group stage from subsequent yr. And whereas the Indian home season will not be scheduled throughout the summer time, many cities are alongside the shoreline and humidity is a significant factor. Subsequently our cooling system can be of help to boost the degrees of the gamers and recreation.
Relating to the match’s coaching grounds, the pitches laid out at these services have the identical sort and high quality of grass as these in FIFA World Cup stadiums. Three-time Asian champions Islamic Republic of Iran have already skilled on the 2022 coaching services and so too have India forward of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 final September. The services have been additionally used throughout the Gulf Cup final yr.
The Qatar Soccer Affiliation have MOUs with many member FAs of the confederation, which entails in depth utilization of Qatar’s soccer infrastructure by senior and age-group nationwide groups of varied AFC Member Associations. The prepared availability of the coaching grounds can be an vital side within the post-2022 technical improvement of many Asian soccer nations simply because the 2002 World Cup stadiums and coaching services helped Japanese and Korean soccer to realize at the moment’s ranges of excellence.
The primary Asian FIFA World Cup was hosted within the East in Japan and Korea. How vital is it for the FIFA World Cup to be staged in several continents and cultures?
Over the previous few a long time, soccer has grown to change into a sport that has garnered large curiosity and funding from all around the globe, and never solely from conventional footballing powers in Europe and South America.
That is very true in Asia, the place we have now seen how the game has enabled the constructing of world-class infrastructure and groups. While you mix this with the widespread ardour for the sport throughout Asia, you will have a powerful accomplice within the continent that actively contributes to the expansion and improvement of worldwide soccer – beginning on the grassroots stage and thru to the sport’s showpiece occasion – the FIFA World Cup. And for the sport to really develop, it must be accomplished by way of a world method, which necessitates internet hosting it on a continental rotation system.
We should additionally recognise the position the world’s largest sporting occasion can play in bridging cultures, correcting stereotypes and enhancing mutual understanding between folks from throughout the globe. We noticed this for instance in Japan and Korea in 2002, the place the match was not solely a celebration of soccer but in addition of East Asian cultures.
In 2022, we would like everybody to not solely take pleasure in unimaginable soccer on the pitch, but in addition expertise our famend hospitality, find out about our tradition and traditions, and go away Qatar with a greater understanding of the area’s folks and their peaceable, humorous, passionate and hospitable nature.
The compact nature of Qatar 2022 will make it a singular expertise for Asian followers. West Asian followers are soccer mad and followers from China and India have been within the prime three of countries whose followers visited Russia 2018 regardless of their groups not qualifying. What message do it’s important to followers from the AFC area (excluding Qatar) wanting to come back to Qatar?
We’re sure that Qatar 2022 can be a singular FIFA World Cup, with a compact nature that may imply your entire match can be an unparalleled soccer and cultural pageant the place followers and guests will make lifelong recollections alongside each contact level and expertise.
Will probably be the primary time within the historical past of the match the place followers can get to look at a couple of match per day, all while nonetheless having the ability to soak within the tradition, sights and sounds of Qatar. Throughout non-match days, there can be solar, sand and seashores to take pleasure in and scrumptious Arabic, Persian, Indian, Chinese language and Thai cuisines obtainable in a lot to pattern.
For a lot of followers in Asia, it’s going to even be the closest FIFA World Cup to attend lately, and the primary actually international soccer pageant within the post-COVID world that may deliver the sport’s followers again collectively.
So our message is easy – we stay up for seeing you all right here in 2022!