LONDON - The Qatar 2022 World Cup could be
viewed as a celebration of recent public uprisings in the Arab
world with a mainly young population bringing their passion
together in sport, the organising committee's general secretary
said on Wednesday.
Revolutions in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia along with political
protests in other Arab countries have swept the region and the
rebuilding of those societies goes hand in hand with the
sporting changes happening in Qatar.
"I think [the World Cup] complements what is happening in the
Arab Spring," Hassan Al Thawadi told the Leaders in Football
conference at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge stadium.
"I do think that by 2022, as visitors come and see a Middle
Eastern World Cup being hosted in Qatar, they will feel that
it's a celebration following a decade since the rebirth
He wanted all of the Middle East to feel it was their World
Cup and to travel to the tournament.
"The Middle East has a young population. Sporting events in
general have always been the best conduits for bringing passions
The tiny nation, which last December won the bid to host the
soccer extravaganza against the odds, is plotting a
mini-cultural revolution for World Cup visitors with new
museums, entertainment complexes and readily-available alcohol.
But Al Thawadi said there was no risk of any political
problems in Qatar in the build up to the World Cup.
"There is a significant move from the government towards
reform," he said.
He again vehemently denied corruption allegations
surrounding the winning bid and stuck to the plan of hosting a
summer World Cup despite some in the football sphere believing a
winter event might be better given the intense Qatar heat.
Qatar is also bidding for the 2020 Olympics but has
indicated it would like to hold the event slightly later than
usual in September or October because of the weather.
Al Thawadi said this was because of events like the marathon
and pointed out the World Cup organising committee have two more
years to perfect the cooling systems which will air condition
stadiums, training facilities and fan parks.
The positive aspect of Qatar as host is its small size, he
"Fans will be able to see more than one game in a day. You
can stay in the same accommodation throughout the whole event,"
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