What does the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 mean for Qatar beyond the obvious impact on the sports industry?
To us, the FIFA World Cup is more than just a football tournament—it is a celebration of our common humanity. This celebration is even more important in 2022 given the post-COVID-19 world we will likely be operating in. As we edge closer to 2022, we are excited to share our country, culture, and region with millions who will travel for the tournament. In the context of COVID-19, the tournament is likely to be one of the world's first truly global gatherings that fans and teams will be able to confidently travel to and enjoy. The tournament has already positively impacted the country and the region, two years before it is set to begin. Whether it is increased economic activity directly or indirectly through preparations for hosting, increased participation in sports leading to healthier lifestyles, or developing and accelerating innovative sustainable building practices and standards, 2022 has already had a profound impact on the country and will have a lasting impact for generations to come.
How will the 2022 FIFA World Cup help set a precedent for future events in terms of legacy?
Being the first World Cup in the Arab World and the Middle East, and recognizing the power of sport—and football in particular—as a catalyst and driver for positive change, we wanted to make sure the tournament left a long-standing legacy not just for the people of Qatar, but the region as a whole. In planning for the tournament and curating our legacy programs, we ensured everything we do supported the realization of the Qatar National Vision 2030, thereby placing sustainability and legacy at the heart of every project we undertake. From an economic perspective, Qatar has always viewed the FIFA World Cup 2022 as a catalyst for accelerating not only the growth of the local economy by providing opportunities for local businesses, companies and contractors, but also wider infrastructure and nation-building projects. This has already had a significant impact on Qatar and helped accelerate a number of existing national infrastructure projects that are transforming the country into a modern and connected nation—a legacy that will be felt for generations to come. For example, the Doha Metro is already today a critical method of transport for the people of Qatar, helping take cars off the road, reducing carbon emissions, and supporting the realization of the country's environmental development goals. We are also utilizing the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 as a platform for several legacy programs aimed at supporting the realization of the National Vision 2030, specifically a knowledge-based economy and economic diversification. Josoor Institute, our education and training arm, is helping with the country's economic diversification and human capital development efforts. It aims to build the capabilities of the sports and events industries in Qatar and the region in the run up to the FIFA World Cup through education, training, professional certification, consultancy, and research. Tourism, property, media, service, and manufacturing are just some of the sectors that will rapidly grow while Qatar's successful track record in hosting first-class mega events continues to expand. From a modernization and preservation of traditions perspective, our state-of-the-art stadiums echo the spirit and essence of Arab and Qatari heritage and culture. This venue will be utilized by the people of Qatar long after the tournament concludes—post 2022, once its capacity is reduced to 20,000 seats, a boutique hotel will replace the stadium's upper stands, while a branch of Aspetar clinic will open on site. In addition, the stadium's precinct can be utilized by the community for a variety of sporting activities as well as the establishment of a number of retail and commercial units.