March 1, 2013

‘Commitment’ is Qatar’s key word for 2022 World Cup

*Hassan Al Thawadi gives time lines to projects, assures on unique delivery

By Onochie Anibeze
The power of conviction Hassan Al Thawadi exudes when he speaks about 20222 World Cup is tremendous.

He is eloquent and easily makes one dream the world event that is nine years away.

One could argue that the wealth of his country, Qatar,  propels the confidence in him. While that could be true, it is not entirely wholesome. It is not only the wealth of Qatar that is driving the 2022 project.

The determination of the people to deliver a unique World Cup is a factor. Their will to develop a football culture not only in Qatar but also the entire Gulf Region is another. There’s also the need to grow the football industry and enjoy the socio-economic gains inherent in it. Past hosts attest to this.

Hassan Al Thawadi has been speaking in many occasions on this, the recent being when he addressed the General Assembly of European Clubs Association.

He impressed when he gave time lines for the beginning of some stadia and their completion. He covered many areas including hospitality, transportation, infrastructure and the will of the people.

Al Thawadi is the Secretary-General of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee. He had submitted a three year Immediate Project Management Plan(IPMP) to FIFA and soon construction for the first stadium for the 2022 World Cup will start in conjunction with Qatar Foundation at EducationCity.

Qatar has earmarked 137 Billion Pounds for World Cup infrastructure. They say the memories of 2022 will remain green in the memories of all years after the event.

Questions have been raised about the weather in Qatar during summer. It sometimes rises up to 50c and that could be dangerous for football.

There’s also the issue of population.  Qatar has promised to construct cooling systems that could lower the atmospheric temperature to 25c.

That was welcomed by Fifa. Al Thawadi has now added that the cooling technology will not only have effect at stadium areas but also “some wider areas.” On population, Qatar says the 2022 World Cup will attract so many visitors from the Gulf Region.

There’s a word Al Thawadi repeats every time. “Commitment.” It is Qatar’s commitment to deliver a superb World Cup and “we are committed to this.”

“Fans will feel safe, secure; they will have great times, they will feel comfortable and they will feel cool in every sense. It is our commitment to ensure this,” Al Thawadi had said before Qatar hosted European clubs.

“We have a commitment to stage a compact World Cup, such that fans may be able to watch two matches in a day,” he says. Qatar plans a metro system that will make this possible.

“2022 World Cup will be a true and unique festival.”

The likes of Mitchel Platini, the President of EUFA, have suggested that the 2022 World Cup be staged during winter because of the hot weather during summer. Some stakeholders have opposed this because of the effect it would have on the European football calendar.

Al Thawadi says that it is in the hands of FIFA and the rest football family to decide, saying “whichever way, Qatar has a commitment to deliver what the world will be proud of and we will not fail.”

But Al Thawadi admits that there’s a lot of work to be done. “It’s like a 400m race,”he says.

“Can you go flat out early? No. Can you go slowly throughout the race? No. You plan it, knowing when maintain some tempo and when to accelerate and how to power to the finish line.”

Al Thawadi excites his audience every time. And the work plan on the ground adds weight to his authority.

Qatar is also out to leave as many legacies as possible.

Some parts of the stadia will be collapsed after the World Cup and donated to developing countries.

Some African and Asian countries can’t wait for the fiesta in Qatar