Posted on September 11, 2014
The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) showcased the progress being made on infrastructure delivery ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar at the Soccerex Global Convention currently in session in Manchester. Nasser Al Khater, Executive Director, Communications and Marketing, outlined the SC’s vision as Qatar gets ready to host the first ever FIFA World Cup in the Middle East. He was interviewed on stage by distinguished broadcaster Sir David Davies. "We have had an open-air air cooled stadium in Qatar at Al Sadd since 2008, so the concept is real and works", Al Khater said.
 
Al Khater added that during the World Cup, we operated our 2014 Brazil Fan Zone, an incredible facility where we had more than 10,000 people coming to watch games. Inside the temperature was lowered to between 12-15 degrees while it was very warm outside. "We were very happy with the results and we’re pressing ahead not just with the cooling but with everything. We have spent a lot of money on infrastructure. Our Metro system is in full swing and a lot of work is being done on roads" , he noted.
 
Al Khater noted that the two stadiums are under construction and by the end of the year we will have another three. "We’re ahead of schedule in terms of infrastructure. We’re in a good place and delivering ahead of time", he underlined. He said: "We wanted to make sure we had local companies involved. “We realized we needed international companies who had built stadiums of these magnitude in the past. We looked at joint ventures and this is a model we’re following. So far regional companies are involved as well, bidding for projects.
 
Al Khater said that there is an attitude of positivity and everyone wants to find a solution, adding that "We want the ideal solution for the World Cup with the minimum of disruption for the rest of football". For the players, heat won’t be an issue, he noted . He said " We will have cooled stadiums, training pitches and cooled public areas for the fans". There is a divide but that doesn’t surprise me. Some people will say its tradition and this is the way it must be. The world is divided. I would like to see a show of hands in here to see how many people think it’s unthinkable to host in the summer (around half).
 
On timing, Al Khater said: I’m not an expert in competitions or the football calendar. So much planning is involved. I don’t want to say it’s a watershed moment to fix the calendar. I can’t really answer that question. Everyone talks about summer, winter, fall, spring; we’ll be ready, he added. on MICHAEL GARCIA’S REPORT, Al Khater said: "We’ve always been confident about this issue, the way we’ve carried ourselves through the bidding process. We have almost 500 people working on this tournament every day, so I think that answers the question.

On support of the Arab world, Al Khater said that there is a lot of football tradition and passion in the Arab world. The support is there. Everyone has a feeling of pride.It needs to come to the Middle East. The time is right for it, he added. On CRITICISM AROUND LABOUR ISSUES, Al Khater said: "We try to clarify, state the facts. There has not been a single fatality on any World Cup project. We’re not running away or saying there or no problems" . " This will be a catalyst for change. A lot of progress will take place because of this, just look at the development of cooling for example", he added. He stressed that the labour issue is another area that will see progress. We have amended laws and are trying to hold people accountable. It will take time and won’t happen overnight, he noted.
 
Al Khater said "We had to educate ourselves. We have become wiser in politics and social issues. We knew we would have scrutiny. We knew we would have to have the stamina, but this level of scrutiny is something I did not expect".  He added: "We have great people working hard every day, who see the progress and work they are putting in and commitment to leadership". "Criticism is a motivation. I look at the criticism as delayed gratification. We never really got to celebrate because our World Cup was put under scrutiny immediately. It will be so much sweeter when we can finally do that".
 
On whether people in Qatar are still excited about the World Cup, Al Khater stressed that They are absolutely glad. They recognize it’s even more pertinent we put on an excellent show, he added. "These challenges make us more motivated to deliver an exceptional World Cup, he said, noting, this is what we promised, this is what we will deliver. "We want to put on a great tournament so people can say ‘What were those ten years of criticism about?’ Al Khater added.

Categories: